By Nathan Schertz.
EUREKA – The Eureka College volleyball team pushed reigning St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion Westminster to the brink in game one and evened the match in game two, but the Blue Jays withstood the hosts' push to grab a 27-25, 18-25, 25-21, 25-17 league win over the Red Devils at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center, Wednesday night.
Eureka took a 9-5 lead early in game one until Westminster battled back. The Red Devils increased the lead to five as late as 19-14, but the Blue Jays regained the lead to eventually win, 27-25. A Eureka attack error allowed the visitors to regain the lead and Sarah Rivers's kill clinched the set win.
In the second set, the Red Devils found a rhythm jumping out to a 20-8 lead. EC eventually staved off a Westminster rally late in the frame on service from Allie Kennebeck and won 25-18 to even the match, 1-1.
Westminster used a fast start in game three, scoring seven in a row to open the frame. The Red Devils recovered to slash the deficit back to a single point (22-21) after a block assist from Kary Langan (Lakewood, Ill./Shelbyville H.S.) and McKenzie Reiners (Milford, Ill./Milford H.S.), but three straight EC errors allowed WC to win the game, 25-21.
The Blue Jays led from start to finish in game four. Their lead ballooned to as many as nine points (15-6) midway through the frame.
Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw H.S.) put down a match-high 14 kills and added 20 digs for a double-double. Sara Worrell (Jacksonville, Ill./Routt Catholic H.S.) also logged a double-double with 21 assists and 13 digs. McKenna Cleer (Havana, Ill./Havana H.S.) tacked on a team-best 26 digs.
Eureka will travel to Greenville, Ill. this Saturday for a pair of league matches. The Red Devils will start the day with a 1 p.m. neutral-site match versus Spalding before closing competition for the day in a 3 p.m. start against host Greenville.