This archived article was written by: Masi Steel
Sixteen games into the season, USU Eastern volleyball team prepares for conference play on Sept. 25 with a 6-7-pre-season record.
The Eagles started their pre-season in Rock Springs, Wyo., Aug. 22-23, and came home with a 0-3 record.
Their first match was against Western Wyoming Community College where the Eagles lost 0-3. The main hitters were Melissa Judd with seven kills and Carly Dalton with 3 kills. Dalton also led the team in digs with a total of 10.
In their second match, they faced conference opponent Salt Lake Community College, where they lost 0-3. The top hitter was Judd with six kills. Koralys Gonzalez had eight digs leading the team in the match.
In their final match of the weekend, the Lady Eagles played Central Wyoming Community College, losing 2-3 in a tough battle. Jasmine Covington led the Eagles in kills with 11 and Dalton with 10 kills.
Dalton said, “For our first tournament I feel we did alright, we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of potential this year and we are willing to work hard and put forth the effort to make the changes that need to be made.”
The Eagles headed back to Wyoming the following weekend for the Sheridan College tournament in Sheridan, Wyo., on Sept. 5-6, they came home with a 2-2 record.
During their first game, the Eagles faced Laramie Community College. The y lost 0-3; Whitney Riffle led the team with nine kills and Judd had eight kills.
In their second game, the Eagles played Lake Region State coming out with their first win of the pre-season, 3-0. Judd led the team with nine kills and Riffle had seven kills.
The third game in Sheridan was against Central Wyoming Community College. The Eagles dropped all three games. Riffle and Dalton led the team for kills, seven and with five respectively. Leading the team with digs was Gonzalez with 11 and Judd with 10.
The fourth and final game of the Sheridan tournament, the ladies came out with the win, defeating host Sheridan Community College 3-0. The leading hitters for the Eagles were Judd and Dalton, both with 11 kills.
Head coach Chelsey Warburton was really pleased by how the team played last weekend. She said, “The team really improved on their communication, now we just need to focus on closing the block and terminating the ball.” The team did well on eliminating communication errors and not letting their opponents have more the three points in a row.
The weekend of Sept. 11-13 the Eagles went to Scottsdale, Ariz., to play in the Scottsdale Community College classic tournament. The Eagles returned victorious with a 4-2 record.
The first game was against Phoenix College. The Eagles started out strong defeating Phoenix College 3-0. Covington and Judd led the team with 11 kills each. Gonzalez led with an amazing 18 digs and McKenzie Burrows had 11 digs.
During the second match the Eagles faced Eastern Arizona College, winning 3-1. Judd led the team to success with 15 kills and Shania Hurst with followed with nine. Chloe Brooks led the ladies in digs with 17 and Hurst followed with 11.
Their third game the Eagles faced Chandler-Gilbert Community College, sweeping them in three games. Leading the team to victory was Judd with 12 kills and six digs. Covington and Gonzalez also contributed greatly to the team’s success; Gonzalez with 14 digs and Covington with six kills.
In the fourth game of the weekend the Eagles beat Pima Community College 0-3. Riffle led the team in kills with 11, Covington with seven, and Covington led the team in blocks with two solo blocks. Gonzalez led the team with 17 digs followed by Brooks who had 10.
The final day in Scottsdale, the Eagles faced host Scottsdale Community College. The ladies lost in five after fighting hard ending up 2-3.
Their final game of pre-season the Eagles faced South Mountain Community College, losing 2-3.
Dalton said, “Overall I feel we did really well coming together as a team, and executing the things that we worked on in practice. You can really see the improvement. Our region is tough but we are ready to fight and compete for a shot to go to the national tournament.”
The Eagles next home game is Oct. 4 against Colorado Northwestern Community College at 1 p.m.