The Eastern Oregon University volleyball team had no issues with the early wake-up call.
A big day from senior outside hitter Megan Bunn helped.
“Today we took a deep breath and played more together as a team, more consistent as a team and (were) doing what we needed,” head coach Kaki McLean-Morehead said.
Bunn had her second 20-kill performance of the NAIA national tournament, and the No. 7 Mountaineers had little trouble with Reinhardt (Georgia) in its second pool play match Wednesday in Sioux City, Iowa, sweeping the Eagles, 25-18, 25-14, 25-16.
“We were much more effective,” McLean-Morehead said. “Our defense was on point, for sure. All the way around we did a much better job and played much more consistently.”
Bunn was remarkably efficient Wednesday, posting a season-best kill percentage of .528, which is among the top performances of her career. Only four other times has she been more accurate on the attack, and in none of those matches did she put up the number of kill attempts (36) that she did Wednesday.
“She was swinging. She did a nice job of using the block,” McLean-Morehead said. “She was really effective and (was) behind the ball, and could see (the court) really well.”
The effort also further cemented Bunn’s spot in the all-time record books at EOU. Her 12th kill in the match gave her 400 on the season, making her the only Mountaineer ever with multiple 400-kill seasons.
Bunn, though, hasn’t focused on the numbers.
“I’ve only focused on being my best every game for my team because they give everything of themselves for me to get the opportunities to swing, and I owe it to them to give them the credit they deserve,” she said.
Eastern briefly trailed in the opening set 15-14, before finishing the set on a 10-3 run. An ace by Madison Pilon put EOU up 20-16, and kills by Bunn and Jet Taylor gave Eastern a 24-17 lead before another Taylor kill, one of seven on the day, ended the set.
“We were all clicking and very fluid in our play today,” Bunn said. “Everyone was doing their job and we problem-solved to get side-out in ruts when the other team would get on a run much quicker than we have in a while.”
An early 6-0 run in the second set gave EOU the lead for good, and 7-1 run later, capped by an ace from Bunn, put EOU up 20-12. Aspen Christiansen gave EOU a two-set lead moments later with a back-row kill.
One more major run put the third set in hand for EOU, as a 9-1 rally gave the Mountaineers an 11-3 lead on a kill from Bunn, one of 10 she had in the final set. Reinhardt briefly got as close as 17-13 on a Shadaisha Summerall kill, but Bunn followed with four kills during a 5-0 run to push the lead to nine, and Taylor had the final kill of the match moments later.
The Mountaineers had a season-low in blocks with just two, but still forced Reinhardt to commit 23 attack errors and post just a .053 attack percentage.
“They definitely were hitting deeper and over our hands — higher, if you will,” McLean-Morehead said.
Bunn was the only player to finish in double figures in kills. Taylor Tibbetts had eight for the Mountaineers, and Savanna Davis led the Eagles with seven. Bunn also had 11 digs for a second double-double of the national tournament. Kiley McMurtrey led Eastern’s defense with 18 digs, Christiansen added 15 and Pilon had 36 assists and nine digs.
“Maddy did a great job of spreading the offense,” McLean-Morehead said of her setter.
EOU (31-3 overall) finishes pool play Thursday against Lindsey Wilson (Kentucky).
Editor's Note: This story has been updated.