The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term “on fire” as “being consumed by fire.” At Utah State University Eastern, the women’s volleyball team is the metaphorical definition of being “on fire”. After a slow 3-3 start to the season, the Eagles have notched 13 straight wins to move to 16-3. In the 13-match win streak, Eastern has wins over five NJCAA ranked teams and currently sit at No. 7 in the nation.
The Eagles traveled to Henderson, Nevada to take on a College of Southern Nevada (CSN) Tournament that featured four matches against ranked opponents. Eastern opened the tournament on Thursday with a 3-1 win over No. 10 Polk State College. Later that day, Eastern dominated No. 11 Chandler-Gilbert Community College in a 3-0 sweep.
Friday brought two more challengers for USUE, but just as the day before, Eastern made quick work of their opponents. Arizona Western College was the second sweep of the weekend for USU Eastern. Kennedi Knudsen and Haley McUne led the Eagles offensively in the win. Eastern then fronted No. 16 Seward County Community College in a match that ended 3-1 in favor of the Eagles.
Saturday morning saw the closest match of the weekend as USUE went five sets in a 3-2 win over No. 12 Glendale Community College. The afternoon saw the third sweep of the weekend as Eastern wasted no time in a 3-0 win over South Mountain Community College.
A week later, USU Eastern traveled back to Henderson, Nevada to play in the CSN Invite. Eastern took care of business quickly with a 3-0 sweep of Eastern Arizona College and a 3-1 dominant victory over Yavapai College to extend their winning streak to 13 matches.
USUE has been led by the excellent defensive play of freshman libero Paige Shumway. Shumway was most recently named the NJCAA National Defensive Player of the Week for her 99 digs (4.5 digs per set) and 14 aces last week. In addition to the award, Shumway was also named the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) Defensive Player of the Week in the same week.
Sophomore right side hitter Sophia Anderson was named Eagle of the week after a week that featured 35 kills on a .324 hitting percentage and 14 blocks.
As this edition of the newspaper will be released on Friday, Sept. 23, Eastern will have opened conference play at Colorado Northwestern Community College on Wednesday. Friday, Sept. 23 will be the first chance USUE will have to see the volleyball team play at home as Eastern will host their women’s volleyball alumni game. The following week will feature an NJCAA top 10 matchup as the No. 3 Snow Badgers will visit Eastern in a match of national contenders. Eastern will follow that up the next day with a match against the College of Southern Nevada Coyotes, also at home.