Utah State University Eastern volleyball team began conference play with a loss, win, win and a loss.
USUE entered its first match against Snow College, who is ranked ninth in NJCAA. Scoring was the theme throughout the four-set match; the atmosphere was intense on the road. Both schools brought their student bodies, and the stands were electric.
USUE’s offense kept the pressure on the Badgers the whole game, and was able to sneak out a 25-23 win. The offense was led by middle blocker Kamryn Wiese, outside hitter Sammy Perry, and Alyssa Simmons, who combined for 31 kills. However, the Eagles couldn’t keep up with the Badger’s aggressive front row and would go on to lose game 2, 22-25.
Games 3 and 4 were dominated by the Badgers. Their offense was able to keep the pressure the entire game and their dominant front row left them victorious.
Statistically, the Eagles had many bright spots. Along with her kill, Perry also finished with four blocks defensively. Setter Ashlee McUne had three aces and 16 assists. The defense was led by Emma Ricks, who finished with 16 digs.
USUE next traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, to compete in their 18th consecutive away game against the College of Southern Nevada. Traveling is nothing new to the Eagles, and they redeemed themselves from their previous loss with a 3-0 match win against the Coyotes.
In the first game, the Eagles started with momentum early. Front row hitters Simmons and Perry were blasting volleyballs right back to the Coyotes front line all game.
The Eagles handled the Coyotes with ease, winning the game 25-17. Games 2 and 3 were all Eagles from start to finish. The Eagle’s front line stifled the Coyotes offense and they couldn’t get much success all game.
The Eagle’s offense dominated the possession of the ball and took advantage. The Eagles won game 2, 25-14. Game 3 wasn’t close either, and it was clear who the better team was. The Eagles dominated the game-winning 25-13, completing the sweep. Perry and Simmons led the Eagle’s offense with nine kills each. Kamryn Weise defended the net well, finishing the game with four blocks. McUne set her teammates up perfectly all game, finishing with 22 assists on an impressive offensive performance by the Eagles.
USUE finally returned home for a match against College of Southern Idaho and didn’t disappoint in their long-awaited return to Price. The Golden Eagles were swept off the court by the Eagles. The Eagle’s offense put on a show in front of a hostile crowd at the Bunnnell-Dmitrich Athletic Center.
The Eagles got off to a fast start in Game 1 and never looked back. They would go on to win by a score of 25-17. Game 2 was all USUE, winning the game 25-12.
The Golden Eagles looked gassed after game 2; USUE saw this and took advantage in a very deceive win 25-12. Perry continues to show why she is one of the best players in junior college, finishing the game with 15 kills offensively and 12 digs defensively.
Wiese had 6 kills and 3 blocks on the night, while Lindsey Otero, a sophomore middle blocker, joined her in protecting the net with 8 blocks.
McUne distributed the offense throughout the floor, finishing with 25 assists, while sophomore Ricks anchored the back-row defense. Ricks finished with 23 digs, and freshman defensive specialist Lindsey Palmer had 11 digs. It was an excellent win for the Eagles as they moved on to familiar foe Salt Lake Community College.
The Bruins traveled to Price for the Eagle’s second home match of the year. In game 1, the Eagles took an early 9-4 lead over the Bruins. The Bruins struggled to deal with the Eagles’ front line, which was blocking everything back to the Bruins’ front line.
After back-to-back monster blocks from Wiese, the Eagles looked poised to take off the match. However, the Bruins would come right back with five straight points and make it a game again, 15-1.
Sheen star back hitter Perry took over the game. She would have three straight spikes to give the Eagles a five-point lead. The Eagles would hold onto the lead and win game 1, 25-19. Game 2 was a different story. It was back and forth at the start, each team trading off points. However, Bruins Outside Hitter Sandora Sasaki blasted a spike back to USUE’s backline giving SLCC their first lead. The game was won 15-14.
Game 3 was crucial, both teams’ offenses started hot. Simmons delivered a mean spike to give USUE a one point lead. However, the Bruins would come roaring after a vital ace from freshman Opposite Hitter Annie Michael to provide them with an early 13-12 lead.
The Bruins scored seven unanswered points to give them a 16-12 lead. Another Sasaki spike would be the dagger to the Eagles, and the Bruins won the game by a score of 25-21.
Game 4 was crucial. The Bruins started where they left off and jumped out to an early lead. However, the Eagles refused to quit and came roaring back to tie the game at 10. The match was intense, and after a mere miss by Perry, the Eagles found themselves in the hole.
The Eagles offense responded and took a two-point lead. However, the Eagle’s defense had no answer for the aggressive Bruin offense. The Bruins went on to win the game 25-22 and the match 3-1.
The losses to SLCC and Snow were tough ones to swallow. The Eagles look for more than wins. They want to compete and try to win a regional title which will be very difficult now after the two losses, but not impossible.
The Eagles have two winnable games next week against Colorado Northwestern Community college and College of Southern Nevada. Then the Eagles will take on Snow at home in the most important game of the season to that point. The Eagles season will continue Oct. 8, in Price against conference opponent Colorado Northwestern Community.