Monmouth Edges Red Devils Tuesday

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

EUREKA, Ill. -- Eureka College and Monmouth played to 31 tied scores and 13 lead changes over the course of Tuesday's non-conference match at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena, but the Fighting Scots staved off game point in the first and third games to scratch out a 28-26, 25-22, 27-25 victory over the Red Devils.

In game one, neither team led by more than two points until strong service from Eureka's McKenna Cleer (Havana, Ill./Havan H.S.) opened up an 18-13 EC lead. Monmouth quickly recovered to force a 21-21 deadlock on a Eureka attack error, but Cleer and the Red Devils ultimately served game point with a 26-25 edge after Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw H.S.) put down a kill. The Scots ultimately scored three in a row to win the set 28-26 behind an Abby Tucker kill and back-to-back EC attack errors.

Monmouth doubled up the hosts early in the second game, snagging a 10-5 lead and forcing a Eureka timeout. The Red Devils regained the momentum shortly after the break in the action, scoring eight of the next 10 points and moving in front 13-12 on a block by Anna Crank (Washburn, Ill./Midland H.S./Clarke) and Beth Mickna (Deer Creek, Ill./Dee-Mack H.S.). The Red Devils led as late as 22-21 before an EC service error triggered a burst of four straight points by the Scots. An attack error pushed the visitors in front (23-22), Tucker forced game point (24-22) with another kill and another Eureka attack error gave Monmouth a 25-22 win.

The Scots looked to put game three away early after Ashley Farris' kill staked the hosts to a 10-4 advantage. Eureka answered the challenge yet again, using a 9-2 surge primarily behind service from Sara Worrell (Jacksonville, Ill./Routt Catholic H.S.) to take a 13-12 lead. Eureka pushed its lead to as many as three points on three different occasion, including a 24-21 lead after a bad MC set. Monmouth fought off the Red Devils one final time by scoring six of the last seven points. MC pulled even, 24-24, on a Eureka attack error and ended the match moments later on another Farris kill for a 27-25 win.

Crank totaled 10 kills and 11 digs. Worrell recorded 19 assists and Cleer came away with 12 digs. Eureka finished with a .193 attack percentage and was credited with an assist on all 40 of its kills. Six different players assisted on a pair of blocks to give EC seven total blocks on the night.

Farris gave the Red Devils fits throughout the contest, putting down 21 kills on 31 swings. Lauren Sperry added nine kills and Laura Dulee finished with 28 assists.

Eureka will now turn back to St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference competition Wednesday in a 7 p.m. start against Fontbonne at the Reagan Athletic Complex. Eureka's three seniors -- Crank, Mickna and Meagan Hanney (Sherman, Ill./Williamsville H.S.) -- will be honored prior to their final home match during a pregame ceremony.