The USUE volleyball team, ranked ninth in the nation due largely to its strong defense, crushed winless Colorado Northwestern Community College at home 3-0, knocked off College of Southern Nevada 3-0 in the “Dig pink night,” and upset bitter rival Snow College 3-1.
The Eagle’s defense ranks seventh in the nation in digs and sixth in digs per set.
The Eagles were overwhelming favorites against the 0-17 Spartans and they did not disappoint. In the first game, the Eagles started on fire. Setter Ashlee McCune began the game with five aces to help give USUE a commanding 9-0 lead.
The offense could not be stopped as the Eagles cruised to an easy win 25-6. The next two games weren’t close, the Eagles won 25-12 and 25-15.
Star players Alyssa Simmons, Sammy Perry, and Sophia Anderson combined for fifteen kills. McCune had an unforgettable night, finishing with a career-high eight service aces. Freshman setter Makenna Blanc had eight assists.
The win was dedicated to Cpl. Wyatt Wilson, who graduated from Carbon High School in 2017. He joined the military and was deployed to Afghanistan where he was seriously injured in the August suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans. Wilson is still recovering in the hospital.
College of Southern Nevada
The first time the teams met, USUE took care of business in Henderson, Nevada. They did the same in “Dig pink night,” that was dedicated to Jordan Ricks-Hanks, the sister of Emma Ricks. Ricks-Hanks is a new mother who is currently battling stage four cancer.
The Eagles came ready to play and dominated. Game One started close, but the Eagle’s offense was sparked with a kill from middle blocker Lindsey Otero. After that, the Eagle’s offense wouldn’t let up and it went on an 11-3 scoring run to win the game 25-15.
The Eagles also dominated Game Two. Perry, Kamryn Weise, and Camber Dodson fueled an aggressive attack as the Eagles took a commanding 18-5 lead. Southern Nevada tried to come back, but the lead was too much, and the Eagles soared past the Coyotes, winning the game 25-14.
Game Three, however, was close. The Eagles led by one point when Otero again turned the tide with a game-changing kill. The Eagles went on an 8-2 scoring run to give them a 22-15 lead. A late run by CSN was a little too late, and the Eagles won 25-21, and the match 3-0.
Perry had 13 kills. Teammate Emma Ricks was a defensive anchor with 18 digs.
This was the most important matchup.
The Eagles lost the first time they met the Badgers and were looking for revenge in Price. Snow College is a different beast in region 18. It was a matchup of top-10 junior college programs, which is crucial for region implications.
The Eagles used their home-court advantage in Game One, racing to a 10-3 lead. However, the Badgers came storming back on a 15-3 run to take the lead back 18-13.
The Eagles refused to fold, tying it at 20. It came down to crucial attack errors, and the Eagles capitalized to win 25-22.
Game Two was all Eagles. Setter McCune’s passing was terrific, setting up her teammates all game to give the Eagles a massive 18-6 lead. The Eagle’s lead would prove to be too much as the Eagles would dominate 25-12. With a 2-0 lead, the Eagles wanted to make a statement by sweeping the ninth-ranked junior college team.
Game Three was close start to finish with six lead changes. The game came down to the wire, tied at 22. Setter Macie Gordon had a devastating kill to give the Badgers the lead. The play proved to be the spark the Badgers needed, and Snow would win 25-22.
Game Four was a nail-biter. The teams played as if their season depended on it. Tied 16-16, Eagle’s McCune had a great pass to fellow teammate Sunny Perry for a major kill. The Eagle’s offense capitalized on that with two more kills to give them a 19-16 lead.
Snow’s offense responded with a few kills to tie the game at 22’s. A service error by Snow gave USUE the lead, then McCune set up her teammate again with a beautiful pass to Perry for a crucial kill. Otero came through again with a clutch kill to win for the Eagles, 25-23. The Eagles won the series 3-1 and a huge confidence boost for the rest of the season.
The Eagles took care of lesser opponents while also avenging their previous defeat at the hands of Snow College.
USUE volleyball isn’t done yet, the Eagles travel their last three games to fourth-ranked Salt Lake City Community College.