Notebook: Red Devils Return to the Reagan For Homecoming Week

Photo courtesy of Thomas Smith.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Smith.
EUREKA -- Following a 14-day stretch in which the Eureka College volleyball team played eight matches in six different cities over three states, the Red Devils will return to Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center for three home contests this week. 
Eureka will host St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Blackburn Wednesday at 7 p.m. before welcoming a pair of league foes to Woodford County Friday night. The Red Devils will take on Iowa Wesleyan at 6 p.m. in Friday's opener before an 8 p.m. clash with Iowa Wesleyan.
Blackburn will enter the week with a 4-10 overall record and currently holds sixth place in the current SLIAC standings with a 4-5 league mark. BC, which will host Illinois College Tuesday night before coming to Eureka on Wednesday, snapped a three-match skid with a four-game victory over Iowa Wesleyan last 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 35 matchups since 2002. The two squads split last season's series and the Beavers downed the Red Devils in five games last month in Carlinville.
Iowa Wesleyan is 4-14 overall and 2-7 in conference competition to tie Eureka for eighth place in the current league standings. The Tigers, who will visit Greenville Wednesday, have dropped five of their last six matches since Sept. 22.
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).
Iowa Wesleyan has won six of 11 meetings with the Red Devils since IWU joined the SLIAC in 2013, but the Red Devils have won four of the last five over IWU thanks to season series sweeps in 2016 and 2017. The Tigers topped EC in four games last month in Mount Pleasant.
Principia has opened the campaign with a 9-4 mark, including an 8-3 SLIAC record that is good enough for third place in the current league standings. The Panthers have won five of their last seven outings since Sept. 15 and will take on Westminster Friday at 6 p.m. in Eureka before their 8 p.m. bout with the Red Devils.
Three-time SLIAC Coach of the Year Mary Ann Sprague is in her 16th year leading the Panthers. She led PC to the 2006 SLIAC regular-season championship and has been to the SLIAC Tournament semifinals 10 times.
Eureka is 4-23 against Principia since 2003, including a 1-5 mark in Eureka. PC's September 2017 visit to the Red Devils was its first at the Reagan Athletic Complex since October 2013.
Lincoln Christian def. Eureka,21-25, 25-14, 25-20, 25-21
Lincoln Christian climbed out of an early hole to rally for a 21-25, 25-14, 25-20, 25-21 non-conference victory over Eureka last Tuesday in Lincoln.
Kary Langan and Lexi Dooley shared the team lead with 10 kills apiece. Heather Robinson picked up a team-best 16 of EC's 34 assists.
Benedictine def. Eureka, 25-18, 25-17, 25-20
Benedictine defeated Eureka 25-18, 25-17, 25-20 last Wednesday night in Lisle, Ill.
Dooley paced the Red Devils' offense with 11 kills and three service aces. Runa Akagawa also had three service aces while Heather Robinson and McKenna Cleer put up a team-best eight digs apiece. Robinson added 15 assists.
Through the season's first 17 matches, Lexi Dooley leads the Red Devils with 182 kills and a total of 203 points produced. Heather Robinson has added 144 kills and Runa Akagawa has 122 to give the Red Devils three hitters with at least 100 kills. Akagawa's .190 attack percentage leads the team.
Sarah Worrell (252) and Katlyn Arrenholz (192) have combined for 73 percent of the Red Devils' 606 assists.
McKenna Cleer has a team-high 293 digs and also shared the team lead in service aces with Akagawa with 15. Caitlin Miller's 43 total blocks are a team-best, followed by McKenzie Reiners with 42.