Preview: SLIAC Play Continues For Red Devils

Preview: SLIAC Play Continues For Red Devils
EUREKA, Ill. -- The Eureka College volleyball team will play three St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matches away from home this week and also play its final non-conference match at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena this week.
Eureka will visit Westminster Tuesday at 6 p.m., host Lincoln Christian Thursday at 7 p.m. and play back-to-back league matches in Elsah, Ill. on Saturday, starting against host Principia at 11 a.m. and following with a neutral-site bout against MacMurray at 1 p.m.
Eurekaclosed its longest homestand since 2013 in style, coasting to a 25-13, 25-11, 25-18 non-conference victory over USCAA Robert Morris-Springfield last Monday night at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena. All 15 available Red Devils saw action in the win.
Eureka finished the match with 39 kills and a .250 attack percentage, its highest percentage since attacking at a .349 clip in a sweep of Iowa Wesleyan on Sept. 19. Heather Robinson led EC with 10 kills and added 10 assists for her sixth double-double of the season. Annaliese Miller was next for the Red Devils with a career-high nine kills off the bench and Anna Crank put down seven.
Sara Worrell compiled 15 of the Red Devils' 34 assists and McKenna Cleer led all players with 13 digs. Jordan Detmers delivered three service aces and Caitlin Miller had five total blocks.
The Red Devils earned consecutive victories for the second time in 2017 last Wednesday in a 25-13, 25-13, 19-25, 21-25, 15-5 SLIAC victory over Iowa Wesleyan at Ruble Arena in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The win was Eureka's second in a row overall and first on an opponent's home floor in 2017.
Anna Crank logged 16 kills at IWU, Lexi Dooley followed with 14 and Meagan Hanney tallied 11. The Red Devils also received 25 assists from Robinson and 16 digs from Cleer. The victory gave Eureka its second consecutive season series sweep of the Tigers.
The Red Devils rank fourth in the SLIAC with 10.55 kills per set and a .155 hitting percentage. EC leads the 10-team league with 116 total blocks and 1.86 blocks per set.
Cranks leads the offense with 222 total kills and ranks fourth in the league with 3.64 kills per set. The Red Devils also get strong offensive contributions from Robinson (119 kills) and Dooley (118 kills). Jordan Detmers had a team-high 22 service aces. Robinson has distributed 235 assists, followed by Worrell with 167 and Hanney with 139.
Defensively, Crank also leads the team with 187 digs. Three different liberos have contributed throughout 2017, as the Red Devils have received 168 digs from Detmers, 135 digs from Bayley Driskell and 86 digs from Cleer. Robinson has also eclipsed the 100-dig mark with 141 this season.
Caitlin Miller paces EC with 61 total blocks and will likely become the first Eureka freshman to lead the team in blocks since Molly Jugovic in 2013.
The Red Devils will visit Westminster for a 6 p.m. match against the Blue Jays on Tuesday. It's a rare weeknight bus ride to Fulton, Mo. that is more than eight hours and 500 miles round-trip.
The Blue Jays are 12-8 overall and are just a half-game out of first place in the current league standings with an 11-1 mark. WC has won seven straight matches and 10 of its last 11 since Sept. 13, all against conference opponents. Westminster's only setback in the last four weeks has been a five-set defeat at Principia on Sept. 19.
Westminster rallied from two sets down to beat the Red Devils in five on Sept. 30 at the Reagan Athletic Complex. The Blue Jays are 21-7 against Eureka since 1998 and have won 16 in a row in the series since the Red Devils' last victory, a five-set win in Fulton on Oct. 23, 2009.
Eureka will host its final non-conference opponent of 2017 on Thursday when Lincoln Christian visits the Reagan Athletic Complex. 
The Red Lions will enter the week with a 10-13 record and have won four of their last six contests. LCU will host St. Mary-of-the-Woods on Monday before traveling to Eureka on Thursday.
Eureka will try to put an end to an 18-match losing streak against the Red Lions on Thursday. LCU topped the Red Devils in four sets in Lincoln last month. Eureka is 7-25 in its last 32 matches against Lincoln Christian since 1997, and hasn't beaten LCU since a five-set win in Lincoln on Oct. 23, 2007.
The Red Devils will play twice on Saturday in Elsah, Ill., starting with an 11 a.m. conference meeting with host Principia at Hay Field House. 
Perhaps the surprise team of the SLIAC in 2017, Principia is 16-3 overall and enters the week in sole possession of third place in the conference standings with a 9-2 mark. PC saw its nine-match win streak come to a half on Saturday in a three-game defeat to Westminster in Fulton, Mo. The Panthers will host Webster on Tuesday prior to Saturday's event in Elsah.
Principia owns a 22-4 record against the Red Devils since 2003 and defeated EC in four games last month at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena. EC swept the season series from the Panthers a year ago.
The fourth and final match of the week is scheduled for Saturday against MacMurray on the campus of Principia College. The Highlanders and Red Devils will be meeting for the first time in 2017 on Saturday.
MC enters the week with a 6-18 overall record, a 2-9 SLIAC mark and five consecutive losses. The Highlanders, who will square off against Iowa Wesleyan on Wednesday and Fontbonne early Saturday, are in search of their first victory since a five-set win over Blackburn on Sept. 30.
The Red Devils have won 18 of 31 meetings with the Highlanders since 1997. Despite the historical success, MacMurray has beaten Eureka nine consecutive times since Sept. 14, 2013. EC has lost four of its last five neutral-site meetings with MC, including a five-set defeat in St. Louis last October.