Eureka Learns From Past, Tops Principia, 3-1

Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.
Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.

EUREKA — Sara Worrell (Jacksonville, Ill./Routt) racked up a career-high in assists, Annaliese Miller (Chenoa, Ill./Prairie Central) and Ariel Campbell (Decatur, Ill./Cerro/Gordo) both reached career highs in kills and the Eureka volleyball team notched its second St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory of the season over Principia Thursday night.

The Red Devils took down the visiting Panthers in four sets, 27-25, 25-17, 21-25, 25-13, at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.

The win came just nine days after EC fell to the Panthers in four sets on the road.

"It's a testament to see that these kids are learning," first-year coach Nick Mackall said. "They're battling together the way we're meant to. We had some kids really step up and do their jobs well tonight."

Worrell, who registered 42 assists and tied-for a team-high with 21 digs, said that loss was fresh in the team's mind heading into the match.

"I think we really got pumped up before the game," she said. "I didn't think we played to the best of our ability when we played them last Tuesday. We were all super mad after the game. Our team came together and talked about what we did wrong, what we need to fix, how we're going to improve, and I think we really went out there and did our best."

Miller notched a career-high 16 kills while hitting .222 and adding 12 digs. She was one of three Red Devils to record a double-double on the night and one of five to amass double-digit digs.

Campbell, a senior who is back on the team after a two-year hiatus, posted a career-high 13 kills while leading EC's hitters in kill efficiency at .297 and only having two attacking errors. The senior said that Thursday's performance felt like a breakthrough.

"It's been a struggle, honestly," Campbell said of her return to the sport. "Taking two years off, that's not easy. But I'm working on it, and I'm getting better every day."

Mckenzie Reiners (Milford, Ill./Milford) was one kill and dig away from a double, contributing nine kills, nine digs and two block solos.

Caitlin Miller (Washington, Ill./Washington)) and Corinne DeBoard (Centralia, Ill./Christ Our Rock Lutheran) had kills six apiece. Paige Klingler (Newton, Ill./Newton) matched Worrell's 21 digs, while Megan Masching (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac) and Caitlin Miller and delivered 12 and 10, respectively.

The Panthers made the Red Devils fight for control of this one early, pushing the Red Devils to extra points to decide the first set.

A Reiners ace gave EC its first set point at 24-23, but Principia responded with a kill. A Caitlin Miller kill gave the home team its second set point at 25-24, but the Panthers responded with another kill to keep it alive. An attacking error put EC in position to close it out once more, and this time, Campbell put the ball down for the set-winning kill.

The Red Devils rode the momentum into a smooth 25-17 Game 2 win before getting edged in a 25-21 Set 3 to force a fourth set.

EC trailed early, but s 12-point run at the service line for Caitlin Miller gave them a firm upper hand en route to the victory.

With the win, the Red Devils improved to 2-5 in the SLIAC and 5-10 on the season. On Friday, they'll head to Louisville, Kentucky, to take on Spalding at 6 p.m.

"A win is a win is a win in this conference," Mackall said after the win. "We fight like this, we give ourselves a shot against anyone."