MOUNTAINEERS RALLY FOR 3-2 VICTORY OVER ALUMNI
By Raenelle Kwock
The Eastern Oregon University volleyball squad overcame a 2-1 deficit to come away with a victory in five games over an alumni team Saturday at Quinn Coliseum.
The Mountaineers wound up with a 22-30, 30-18, 30-32, 30-20, 15-10 win.
"I think they did really well," Eastern coach Ryan Platt said.
He said it was hard for the Mountaineers to get into a groove in game one.
The Mountaineers settled down in game two. Kaki McLean (senior, Paulina) hammered the ball to give the Mountaineers a 17-11 lead. Aubrey Schneider's (freshman, Estacada) solo block gave the Mountaineers an 18-11 cushion, and they never looked back.
But the alumni would not go away without a fight. Johanna Bailey's service ace gave the alumni a 26-25 lead in game three that they would not give away.
The 2004 EOU team tied the game three times, the last coming on a service error by the alumni. When the game was tied at 30-30, it meant the first team to win by two points would get the victory.
A Mountaineer hitting error and a service ace by Rhianna Stafford of La Grande gave the alumni the game. The alumni's lead was 2-1.
Defense led the Mountain-eers' charge in games four and five.
"We were extremely strong defensivewise," Platt said. "We do not have a tall block like the rest of our (Cascade Collegiate) conference. We have to compensate for it some way."
In game four, the Moun-taineers took charge. EOU went on a 7-0 run midway through to lead 23-12 to force a fifth game.
In game five, Schneider's kill gave the Mountaineers a 9-8 lead they would keep building upon.
A kill by Jana Brotherton (sophomore, Union) padded the lead to 13-9. A Jeanna Eastburn (sophomore, Greenleaf) kill gave the Mountaineers' match point. Olivia Graff (sophomore, Eagle, Idaho) finished off the game with a service ace.
"I'm just proud of everyone," Platt said. "They played extremely hard. "We are a lot stronger this year."
EOU's attack efficiency steadily improved from game one through four. The Mountaineers had 10 hitting errors in the first game and only seven in the fourth and fifth game combined. The alumni team was limited to four kills in the deciding game out of 22 attacks.
"We are an extremely young team," Platt added. "It's looking good. They're playing like veterans. It's nice to see."
McLean led the Moun-taineers with 17 kills and 27 digs. Brotherton added 14 kills and three block assists. Eastburn had 11 kills and three block assists.
Sarelle Parrish (senior, Palouse, Wash.) had 22 set assists and 12 digs. Jenna Elliott (freshman, Puyallup, Wash.) added 22 set assists, and Graff had 10 digs.
For the alumni, Marcy (Hays) Osborne of Baker City had 14 kills, while Misty Jenkin of Mattawa, Wash. added 12 and Kali Edwards of Portland had 10. Jenkin had 21 digs and Cynthia Ruffy of Tacoma added 20.
Stafford is from La Grande, as is Cindy (Williams) Prae-gitzer, who also played for the alumni.
The Mountaineers travel to the Montana State University-Northern Invitational, which is Friday and Saturday in Havre. EOU faces the University of Montana-Western, University of Great Falls, Westlynn College and MSU-Northern, playing two matches each day.
EOU's home opener is Sept. 10 against Western Baptist College.