This archived article was written by: Riley Spears
Finally, is the word coming out of a lot of student’s mouths at the College of Eastern Utah after hearing about the women’s volleyball team’s first conference win since 2004. If this first conference win took a weight off of the team’s shoulders, Coach Brent Martindale said, “Not really, We have much higher goals than just getting a win against CNCC.”
Colorado Northwestern Community College Spartan volleyball team re-entered the conference this year after a few year’s absence. They are rebuilding a program that basically fell apart and are trying to put the pieces back together.
In the CNCC road game, CEU knew this was a good chance to get their first conference win in four years because the Spartans have not won a game this season and are 0-5 in conference play.
“I was pretty much not sure what to expect. I know they hired a coach late, so the players may not be great. I knew it was important to go into the game with the same game plan as we play against anybody. They ended up being a little better than I expected, and they played with a lot of heart,” Martindale said.
The Eagles came out with the win for not just their first, but the first in four years. If this game would have an impact on the rest of the season Martindale replied, “It can only help us with being positive and making sure we improve on things that we have been working on, no matter who we play.”
After the ladies first win, they traveled to the Snow College Badger territory in Ephraim to keep the momentum going. They knew they had a chance if they played their game and executed all they had practiced to do.
“Unfortunately, our match against Snow has been the most disappointing of the season so far. I think we all got caught up in the ‘rivalry’ thing a little too much, and it ended up making us way too tense, which led to unforced errors from the start. Once we got behind, it was difficult to get caught up. We have to be able to turn momentum better in a match, and that only comes from confidence. Snow is pretty good, but we made them look really good by making way too many errors and not putting enough pressure on them,” Martindale said.
Snow ended up winning CEU with no problem in straight sets despite Nicole Norr having six kills and two aces, and Jennie Rudder having four kills and three blocks.
After that loss, CEU had to do something that is very tough in sports – that is to put that all behind them and concentrate on the next day’s road game against number two in the nation Salt Lake Community College.
“We actually played somewhat better against #2 ranked SLCC than we did against Snow. We scored just as many points. They (SLCC) are playing real well right now. They have a legitimate shot at winning a national championship this season. No one in our conference is really pushing them, and some of the teams in our conference are top 20 caliber,” Martindale says. CEU ended up loosing to SLCC with the final set scores of 30-20,30-11,30-19 ending the long week. Niki Griffiths had six kills and hit .455, and Marissa Crookston had two blocks.
CEU travels to College of Southern Idaho Thursday to meet the 5 – 1 Eagles who are .800 percent for the season and to North Idaho College Saturday to try and get another conference win. NIC sits at third in conference with a .600 percent average.