Notebook: Home Opener, League Schedule Up Next For Red Devils

Notebook: Home Opener, League Schedule Up Next For Red Devils
EUREKA -- Following a season-opening road trip to the state of Wisconsin that included four non-league matches in less than 24 hours, the Eureka College volleyball team will return home Tuesday to begin its first of 11 matches at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center when the Red Devils host in-state foe Monmouth at 7 p.m.
 
 
Eureka will play at home again Wednesday when reigning St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion and preseason league favorite Westminster visits for another 7 p.m. first serve. The Red Devils will return to the road to wrap up the week ahead with a pair of conference matches this Saturday in Greenville, Ill. EC will face Spalding at 1 p.m. before squaring off against host Greenville at 3 p.m.
 
BUC BLAST IN REVIEW
Eureka ushered in the 2018 season last Friday night, dropping a 25-20, 22-25, 25-16, 29-27 non-conference bout to Alma at Flood Arena as part of the Buc Blast Tournament in Beloit, Wis.
 
Lexi Dooley paced the Eureka offense in the opener with nine kills. Newcomer Runa Akagawa added eight kills and Heather Robinson pitched in with seven. Sara Worrell logged 20 of EC's 30 assists.
 
Caitlin Miller continued her solid play at the tape, collecting four block solos and a pair of block assists. McKenna Cleer led a group of three Red Devils with double-digit digs at 15 and also had a team-best three service aces.
 
Olivet sent the Red Devils to 0-2 in Friday's late 9 p.m. start, securing a 25-13, 25-15, 25-19 victory over EC. Robinson smashed seven kills, Cleer tallied 15 more digs and Worrell distributed 13 assists.
 
On Saturday, Eureka took a set from host Beloit in the early match, but ultimately couldn't get over the hump in a four-set loss. Akagawa registered 11 of the Red Devils' 38 kills, Kaylyn Arrenholz logged her first collegiate double-double with 17 assists and 11 digs and Cleer added 20 digs.
 
With the match tied at one set apiece, Eureka held a 24-22 lead in game three before BC rallied with four points in a row to steal a 26-24 win. The Bucs scored nine of the first 11 points in game four and appeared to put the contest out of reach, but Eureka answered with six in a row on service from McKenzie Reiners to claw within 20-18. A Eureka error ultimately halted the rally and BC's Aryssa Harris ended the match with a kill moments later for a 25-19 victory for the hosts.
 
Eureka claimed its first win in the late match, a 25-15, 25-7, 23-25, 25-19 win over Rockford. Robinson recorded 12 assists in the win to increase her career total 1,078 and pass Sheila Uhrig for 10th place on the Red Devils' career assists list. She was named to the All-Tournament Team.
 
The Red Devils attacked at a .328 clip as a team in the four-set win over Rockford, committing only eight attack errors on 116 attempts. Eureka also cranked out 10 service aces, three of which came from Worrell. Robinson and Kary Langan had two block solos each.
 
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Monmouth has opened the season 2-0, sweeping both matches of the Monmouth Invitational on Saturday ... The Scots won their opener over Lincoln Christian in four games before sweeping SLIAC opponent Principia in three  ... Kari Shimmin, a 1997 MC graduate and the longest-serving women's coach in Monmouth College history, is in her 21st season ... Shimmin owns a 326-305 record directing the Scots and was the 2010 Midwest Conference Coach of the Year ... The Scots have won 22 of the last 24 versus Eureka since 1997, including both matches of a home-and-home series last season ... Eureka's last win in the series was a three-set sweep at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center on Oct. 13, 2016.
 
Westminster, a year removed from winning its first SLIAC title since 1999, is 1-1 after splitting a pair of neutral-site matches last Friday in St. Louis ... The Blue Jays dropped a five-set bout to Benedictine before recovering to defeat Lincoln (Ill.) in a sweep ... Natalia Koryzna is in her second season directing the Blue Jays and has a 22-12 record in Fulton ... Westminster leads the series with Eureka 22-7 since 1998 and has beaten EC 17 times in a row ... Eureka's last win in the series was a five-set marathon in Fulton on Oct. 23, 2009, Becca LaKosh's freshman season.
 
Spalding, which will visit Hanover Tuesday and play Westminster Saturday prior to its match with Eureka, is 1-1 after an opening-day in split in which the Golden Eagles toppled Berea in four sets and lost in three to Centre ... Former Evansville assistant Cheneta Robinson is the head coach in Louisville ... She is in her first season at SU and just the second head coach in program history after replacing 20-year SU head coach Bridget Yates last March ... Spalding has won 17 of 18 over the Red Devils since joining the league in 2009, but Eureka notched its first win over SU in a five-set stunner last season in St. Louis.
 
Greenville (1-3) dropped three of its four contests over the weekend at the Illinois College Invitational in Jacksonville ... The Panthers lost matches to NAIA Culver-Stockton, Knox and Grinnell and notched its lone victory over Anderson in four games ... GU will travel to Principia Tuesday and play Webster Saturday before its match with the Red Devils ... Longtime head coach Tom Ackerman, who also doubles as GU's Director of Athletics, is in his 17th season directing the Panthers ... The 1999 Greenville graduate is a five-time SLIAC Coach of the Year, has won 309 matches at GU and directed the Panthers to at least a share of seven straight SLIAC regular-season championships from 2010 through 2016 ... GU has won four SLIAC Tournament crowns under Ackerman, including the last three in a row since 2015 ... Eureka will try to end a 22-match skid in the all-time series ... GU is 24-3 against the Red Devils since 2005.