Strong Start, Improbable Finish Lift Eureka Over Fontbonne

Photo courtesy of Michael Redmond.
Photo courtesy of Michael Redmond.

EUREKA, Ill. -- The Eureka College volleyball team cruised to victories in the first two sets of Wednesday's St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match versus Fontbonne and closed the third set with 11 consecutive points, eight of which when facing game point, to secure a 25-14, 25-19, 26-24 league win over the Griffins on Senior Night at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.

Trailing 24-15 in game three, Eureka put the exclamation point on its victory with 11 straight points to end the match. The run was sparked by service from Jordan Detmers (Hartsburg, Ill./Hartsburg-Emden H.S.) and the Red Devils put down seven kills from four different players during the run. A misplayed set by the Griffins tied the score at 24-24 and Eureka took its first lead of the set, 25-24, on a kill by Anna Crank (Washburn, Ill./Midland H.S./Clarke). Heather Robinson (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S.) completed the comeback with another kill for a 26-24 lead.

The Red Devils faced little resistance from the visitors in game one. A Meagan Hanney (Sherman, Ill./Williamsville H.S.) kill broke an 11-11 tie and ignited a 14-3 burst by EC to close the set. The Red Devils won the game 25-14 and the final 11-point margin was their largest of the set.

Eureka used an efficient attack to win game two, 25-22. The hosts scored the first four points of the set on more service from Detmers and never looked back. EC's 18-9 lead was its largest of the set and a Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw H.S.) kill clinched Eureka's 25-19 win. Eureka put down 13 kills against only two errors on 34 attempts in the frame for a .324 attack percentage.

Crank led all players with 13 kills. Dooley and Robinson added seven kills apiece. Sara Worrell (Jacksonville, Ill./Routt Catholic H.S.) finished the match with 18 assists and McKenna Cleer (Havana, Ill./Havana H.S.) had a match-high 16 digs.

Eureka honored Crank, Hanney and Beth Mickna (Deer Creek, Ill./Dee-Mack H.S.) during a pregame ceremony for Senior Night. The trio combined for 19 of the 48 points the Red Devils produced in the win.

Kristina Eason paced the visitors with 11 kills. Megan Schaller finished with a double-double on 13 digs and 12 assists. The Griffins were plagued by 22 attack errors and finished the first game with a -.056 attack percentage.

The Red Devils will take their longest road trip of the 2017 season next Tuesday in a 6 p.m. CST start at Spalding in Louisville, Ky. EC beat the Golden Eagles in five games last month.