EUREKA — The first match of the Nick Mackall era — and the 2019 Eureka volleyball season — is in the books.
EC dropped a three-set sweep to Monmouth in non-conference play on the road on Tuesday evening.
Now, the Red Devils are heading to Mount Mary University to see what improvements they can make in a four-match tournament at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Frist, EC will take on North Central (Minn.) on Friday at 4:45 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. match against the host team, Mount Mary.
Then, on Saturday, the maroon and gold will take on Beloit at 9:30 a.m. and wrap up the weekend against Silver Lake at 12:15.
Mackall, the Red Devils' first-year coach described his first match as a head coach at the collegiate level as something of a mixed bag.
"We did see some bright moments in that match on Tuesday night," he said. "We looked like it was our first match and we looked like we'd been playing together for years at times, too."
It's going to take time, he says, to figure out how this team ticks, but they're in a position to create change.
Among EC's highlights on Tuesday was junior Sara Worrell holding her own as setter, junior Caitlin Miller notching a team-high seven kills for the Red Devils while hitting .412 on the night in her first real match as a six-rotation player and senior newcomer Ariel Campbell showing improvement over the course of the match and finishing with six kills.
Mackall also liked to see senior middle hitter McKenzie Reiners playing a more active role in the attack.
"We set our middles more in one match than I think we did in 25 or 26 matches last year," he said. "Our middle production is definitely higher. It's just matter of points scoring now."
The Red Devils have been a little banged up, but they will be fully healthy soon.
To Mackall, there are some interesting pieces on the board. The Red Devils just need to figure out how to use them to craft an identity.
"That's going to be an improvement in itself," the coach said.