This archived article was written by: Kameron King
Every play and game is big in the SWAC. Each and every team needs to play to their best potential every game; any little confusion or mistakes can cause a team grief and stress for the whole season, due to such a tough conference.
All of the SWAC volleyball teams are battling for rankings in the last stretch of conference. All the games are big for every team. The USU Eastern women have a 11-14 record for the season and a 2-6 record in conference play as they enter the conference tournament this weekend.
The Eagles are currently ranked fifth in the conference, and as team they are ranked fifth in hitting percentage, assists, kills, blocks, and digs. They are ranked third in service aces. There are also individual players who are highly ranked among the women in this conference in each of those categories. In the kill category Whitney Fieldsted is ranked sixth, followed by Kathy Collette at eighth. Paige Peterson is ranked seventh in assists with Lauren Karn at 10th. Jessica Wilcox is ranked third in service aces, and she is also ranked ninth in blocks with Amanda Freestone, who is ranked 12th. Malorie White is ranked second in digs. The team hopes that they can use all of these many skills and bring them together for one final weekend.
The women have had some great games and some poor games in Coach Chelsey Warburton’s eyes. They have had many close, tough battles, which is frustrating for a coach when the victory goes to the other team.
Their final four-game stretch came on Oct. 19 the Bruins from Salt Lake Community College came to Price to play the Eagles on the BDAC floor. These two teams always fight to the end. But this time the Bruins came out and had few mistakes, taking the game three sets to zero: winning set one 25-18, set two 25-16, and set three 25-23. The Eagles put up a good fight, but could not come out on top of the Bruins.
Warburton said, “ I was pleased with how well my women came out and battled, our passing and team work was working great for us. It’s always hard to match up to bigger team’s and schools, but our women have huge hearts and battle to the end every game no matter the situation.”
On Oct. 20, the Eagles played Snow College at the BDAC, looking to upset and surprise the lady Badgers. Sets and scores were going back and forth all night. Each team having great plays, and hard work. The Badgers put everything together and topped the Eagles in four sets, Winning the first two sets, losing the third, and bouncing back with a win in the fourth set: set one 25-16, set two 27-25, set three 25-18 for the Eagles, and set four 25-16 went for the Badgers.
The lady Eagles felt like they let each other down. The women said they knew they had the game but just could not put everything together. They had many good plays but needed more of them in order to top a tough competition like the Snow College lady Badgers.
After a tough week of practice the Eagles traveled to Idaho to play Northern Idaho College. The bus ride was a long, dreadful 18-hour ride which had the Eagles tired and worn out. On Oct. 25, the Eagles played NIC in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. After a good start for the Eagles, they thought they had this game, after winning the first set 25-21. They could not keep it together and lost three straight sets, 25-22, 25-19 and 25-19.
The long bus ride and rough game left the Eagles down on themselves. They went to a hotel and had a good night’s rest and woke up on Oct. 27th, ready to face off against Southern Idaho. CSI is a nationally ranked team, and brought their game and showed it by winning three sets to zero: 25-18, 25-17 and 25-10.
Coach Warburton said “we played good all weekend, but just couldn’t bring it all together. Our passing was there for us all weekend, we just couldn’t put it together play by play.”
The Eagles have region play this weekend up at CSI, where they will face Snow in the first round. We wish them luck as they finish off their season and hope that they can bring everything together for the tournament.