Eureka Earns Historic Win Saturday in St. Louis

Photo courtesy of Bob Hunt.
Photo courtesy of Bob Hunt.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Eureka College volleyball team rallied from two sets down to secure a 21-25, 17-25, 25-17, 25-12, 15-9 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Spalding, Saturday afternoon on the campus of Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Mo. The decision marked EC's first in 17 tries against Spalding. The Red Devils dropped Saturday's opener to host Fontbonne, 28-26, 25-27, 25-14, 25-23.

The Red Devils' win over SU ended a 16-match streak of defeats that dated back to the Golden Eagles' entry into the SLIAC in 2009. It also represented Eureka's first victory when trailing two-sets-to-none since a five-game win at Blackburn on Sept. 30, 2014.

Eureka never trailed in game three against the Golden Eagles, setting the tone for its comeback bid. A Spalding attack error gave the Red Devils their largest lead of the set, 20-12, which was later equaled when an SU service error gave the Red Devils a 25-17 win.

EC put up a .429 hitting percentage and didn't make an attack error on its way to a 25-12 romp in game four. Five consecutive points during service from Jordan Detmers (Hartsburg, Ill./Hartsburg-Emden H.S.) allowed EC to turn a slim 10-8 edge into a comfortable 15-8 advantage. Eureka ultimately closed the game on a 7-2 burst and forced a fifth set when a solo block from Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw H.S.) secured a 25-12 victory.

A Spalding service error triggered a 4-0 EC run to begin the decisive fifth game and the Red Devils never looked back. SU pulled within two late (11-9), but Eureka responded with an Anna Crank (Washburn, Ill./Midland H.S./Clarke) kill and put the match away moments later on a kill from Heather Robinson (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S.).

Eureka totaled 22 kills against just one error on 46 attempts over the final two sets of the match. Crank put down a match-high 18 kills, followed by 13 from Robinson. Four different Red Devils reached double figures in digs, led by Crank with 17. Sara Worrell (Jacksonville, Ill./Routt Catholic H.S.) came off the bench for a career-high 18 assists and added 11 digs for her first collegiate double-double.

In the early matchup with Fontbonne, Eureka recovered from a narrow 28-26 setback in the first game to even match with a 27-25 triumph in game two. The Red Devils trailed by as many as four (13-9) during the second game, but promptly scored six of the next eight points to force a 15-15 deadlock on Crank's kill. The score was tied as late as 25-25 before another kill from Crank and an FBU attack error delivered a 27-25 win.

Eureka never gained traction in the game-three loss to the Griffins. Needing a win in game four to extend the match, the Red Devils sprinted to a 10-4 cushion, but the hosts responded with six in a row for a 10-10 tie. Eureka led as late as 18-17, but Fontbonne recovered to gain a 22-19 lead late. Back-to-back errors pulled Eureka within a point (24-23), but an EC service error gave the hosts a 25-23 win and a four-game victory in the match.

Crank had 17 kills in the early match, followed by 10 apiece from Robinson and Beth Mickna (Deer Creek, Ill./Dee-Mack H.S.). Crank (17 kills, 12 digs) and Robinson (10 kills, 13 assists) totaled double-doubles. Bayley Driskell (Pekin, Ill./Pekin H.S.) compiled 17 of EC's 61 digs and Meagan Hanney (Sherman, Ill./Williamsville H.S.) distributed a season-high 28 assists.

With its season-long seven-match road trip now in the rearview mirror, Eureka will return to Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena Tuesday for a 7 p.m. SLIAC start against Iowa Wesleyan.