Notebook: Eureka Home Tuesday, Begins Big Road Stretch Thursday

Notebook: Eureka Home Tuesday, Begins Big Road Stretch Thursday
EUREKA -- The Eureka College volleyball team will dive into another busy week on Tuesday when longtime non-conference foe Knox visits Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena for a 7 p.m. start.
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Following Tuesday's home match, Eureka will begin a stretch of eight consecutive matches away from home, starting with a 7 p.m. St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tilt with Iowa Wesleyan in Mount Pleasant. The Red Devils will close the week with a 10 a.m. match at Blackburn on Saturday, followed by a noon neutral-site contest against MacMurray.
Eureka went 1-3 in four contests last week, including a pair of matches on its home floor in back-to-back nights. In-state rival Monmouth topped the Red Devils in straight sets on Tuesday before preseason SLIAC favorite Westminster needed four games to escape Woodford County with a victory in both teams' SLIAC opener.
The Red Devils got into the win column Saturday with a decisive three-set sweep of Spalding in Greenville. Lexi Dooley was a force for the Red Devils, putting down 17 kills against only four errors for a .361 attack percentage. Sara Worrell and Katlyn Arrenholz combined for 31 assists and McKenna Cleer was steady as always on the back line with 19 digs.
Eureka roared out of the gate, attacking at a .483 clip in a 25-13 game-one win. A Caitlin Miller kill triggered a 17-6 run from the Red Devils, turning a one-point lead midway through the set into a 25-13 triumph. Dooley finished a pass from Arrenholz to clinc the win.
Spalding led 7-3 in game two, but Eureka punched back with five in a row. Koti Weaver's service error forced a 14-14 tie, Runa Akagawa promptly followed with a kill and the Red Devils finished the frame on a 8-3 burst.
In game three, Spalding grabbed a 12-5 lead to threaten a fourth set, but the Red Devils would not be denied. Neither side led my more than a point in the final stages of the set and Eureka overcame game point with three straight points to end the match, highlighted by kills from Akagawa and Heather Robinson.
EC dropped the nightcap to the host Panthers in three games.
Dooley finished the week with 42 kills and a 1.69 attack percentage. Robinson added 20 kills in the four matches. Worrell (62) and Arrenholz (42) combined for 104 of the Red Devils' 120 assists and Cleer produced 69 digs. McKenzie Reiners -- who has emerged as one of Eureka's top defenders at the tape -- tallied 13 total blocks, an average of 1.0 block per game.
Knox will bring a 3-5 record to the Reagan Athletic Complex Tuesday night ... The Prairie Fire have produced a mixed bag of results, earning an eye-opening four-set win over longtime SLIAC powerhouse Greenville on Aug. 31 before losing a three-set sweep to Iowa Wesleyan the next day ... KC also has wins over Blackburn (Sept. 1) and Rockford (Sept. 4) ... The Prairie Fire dropped all three matches of a two-day trip to Chicago last weekend ... Ashley McDonough is in her fourth season as head coach in Galesburg ... The 2005 Houston-Clear Lake graduate, who arrived in 2015 after a stint as head coach at Cayuga Community College in New York, has a 31-61 record at Knox ... Eureka has won 25 of its last 40 meetings with Knox, but the Prairie Fire has won 10 of the last 11 in the series, including a five-gamer in Galesburg last season.
Iowa Wesleyan is one of four SLIAC schools without a league win through the first week of the schedule, owning a 1-6 overall record and an 0-2 conference mark ... IWU's only win of the campaign was a sweep of Knox on Sept. 1 ... The Tigers lost both ends of a home SLIAC doubleheader last Saturday, but pushed Fontbonne to five sets ... The 2018 season is B.J. Wagy's fifth as head coach at IWU ... She is a 2011 graduate of IWU and holds the Tigers' career record for solo blocks with 241 ... She was also an Academic All-American as a two-sport athlete for the Tigers (track & field) ... Eureka and Iowa Wesleyan have split 10 meetings since IWU joined the SLIAC in 2013, but the Red Devils have won four in a row after season series sweeps in 2016 and 2017.
Blackburn opened the season with four consecutive losses -- a stretch in which it won only one set -- but improved to 1-4 with a five-set win at MacMurray last Wednesday ... The Beavers will visit NAIA St. Mary-of-the-Woods on Wednesday before hosting EC on Saturday ... Carlos Jimenez was hired in August to lead the Beavers ... Jiminez is a 2000 graduate of Western Washington and served as tour director for the EVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour for 14 years ... Eureka has been historically dominant versus BC, winning 26 of the last 34 matchups since 2002, but the two squads split last year's season series.
MacMurray has dropped eight matches in a row since a five-set win over Knox to begin the season ... MC lost its only SLIAC bout, a five-set home setback versus Blackburn last Wednesday ... The Highlanders were roughed up last weekend, falling in matches to Carthage, Rose-Hulman, Washington (Mo.) and Nebraska Wesleyan in a tournament hosted by Washington in St. Louis ... Danielle Doerfler, a Jacksonville native and a graduate of crosstown Illinois College, is in her eight season at MacMurray ... Her eight-year record at MC is 56-171 ...  Eureka swept last season's series, ending a streak of nine consecutive losses to the Highlanders ... The Red Devils lead the series overall in the last two decades, 20-13.