Monmouth Tops Red Devils in Non-Conference Finale

Photo courtesy of Thomas Smith.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Smith.

MONMOUTH, Ill.Kary Langan (Lakewood, Ill./Shelbyville H.S.) smashed a career-high 13 kills without a mistake and Annaliese Miller (Chenoa, Ill./Prairie Central H.S.) also logged a personal best with 11 kills and 14 digs for her first collegiate double-double, but Eureka couldn't sustain a red-hot start in a 15-25, 26-24, 25-15, 25-21 non-conference loss at Monmouth, Tuesday night in Monmouth, Ill. Tuesday's match represented the Red Devils' final non-conference match of 2018.

Langan and Miller combined for 24 of the Red Devils' 50 kills. Heather Robinson (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S.) finished with 27 assists and Runa Akagawa (Saitama, Japan/Ritsumeikan Keisho) had 19 digs to lead a group of four Red Devils in double figures.

The Red Devils combined for 17 kills against one error on 37 swings (.432) in game one to roar to a 25-15 win over the hosts. EC's lead was one (10-9) when Miller's kill ignited a 16-5 run from the visitors to end the set. Eureka led 18-14 before going on a run of six consecutive points on Akagawa's service and the final 10-point margin was the Red Devils' largest of the night.

Monmouth came from behind late in game two to even the match at one game apiece. The Red Devils led by as many as three points on four different occasions and as late as 22-19, but Riley Cook pulled the Scots level with a kill for a 22-22 deadlock. Eureka regained two more leads, including a 24-23 edge thanks to an MC attack error, but two more kills and a Eureka error allowed the hosts to close the game with three consecutive points and a 26-24 triumph.

Game three was tied 13-13 before a Eureka attack error ignited MC's 12-2 run to win the game and take control of the match. Most of the damage was done on service from Ashley Farris and Ali Gustafson's kill secured game point for MC.

The Red Devils fell behind early in the final set but refused to go away. Akagawa's late kill allowed EC to slash its deficit from five to two (22-20) before an MC kill and service ace stretched the lead back to 24-20. A Eureka attack error ultimately ended the match.

Eureka will visit Principia Saturday at 11 a.m. for a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match in Elsah, Ill.