Photo by Andrew Troxell
Photo by Andrew Troxell

The Eagles Spectacular Season Came To An End Against #3 Grossmont

The Eagles women’s volleyball team had an amazing season. They finished 23-6 and were 11-1 in conference play. The Eagles’ 23 wins were the most in program history. The Eagles’ playoff run saw them defeat Riverside in the opening round of the CCCAA Regional Playoffs, but they came up short in the hands of third-ranked Grossmont. Although the postseason did not end as the Eagles intended, it was still a record-breaking season for them. 

The Eagles’ matchup against the RCC Tigers was a rematch from their Sept. 8 game where the Eagles took a 3-0 sweep over the Tigers in Riverside. The two teams met again in the opening round of the CCCAA Regional Playoffs. The Tigers went into this matchup looking to avenge their regular season defeat against the Eagles by eliminating them in the playoffs on their home court. However, the Eagles prevailed and they defeated the Tigers for a second time to advance in the playoffs. 

Photo by Andrew Troxell

The Tigers went into this matchup on a mission and it showed in the first set. The Tigers took an early 10-2 lead to start the first set and ultimately took a dominant 25-12 win in the first set. It looked like the Eagles were in for a long night from the jump. Down 1-0, the Eagles needed to win set two to get back in this game. The second set was very competitive, both teams were adamant about not letting the ball hit the floor which resulted in a lot of back-and-forth action. The second set saw the game tied at 9-9, 10-10, 14-14, 15-15. It was an intense set between the two as both teams refused to let anything hit the ground, but the Eagles won the second set 25-21. Just like that, the game was tied 1-1. 

Photo by Andrew Troxell

With the game tied 1-1, it was important for both teams to take set three. Set three looked to be ultra-competitive like the second set. The Eagles started off with a 2-0 lead before the Tigers went on a 4-0 run to take a 4-2 lead over. After the set was tied 5-5, the Eagles went on a 10-0 run that gave them a 15-5 lead against the Tigers. That run was more than enough for the Eagles as they won 25-14 to take the third set. The Eagles were up 2-1 in the game and looked to put away the Tigers by winning the fourth set. The fourth set was similar to the third set, the Eagles and Tigers kept it close as the Tigers did not allow the Eagles to add to their lead early in the set, but just like in the third set, the Eagles got hot and ultimately won the set 25-15. The Eagles beat the Tigers 3-1 to advance to the next round. 

“We just made too many errors and we didn’t put any pressure on RCC, they came out guns firing. We kept telling our girls before the match started that this is going to be a different team than we played earlier in the season. The biggest switch was just the mental shift in our girls. It was “Hey we just need to play good disciplined volleyball to win tonight.” We don’t have to do anything crazy, we just have to play good disciplined volleyball and play our system, and that was the big mental switch from set one to set two. We finally started applying pressure to the other side.” Coach Eason said of the turnaround after a slow start against RCC. 

Although the Eagles came up short against Grossmont in the next round after defeating RCC, they had a great season and were a dominant force in the Inland Empire Athletic Conference (IEAC) as they went 11-1 against their IEAC opponents. 

“Our chemistry, we’re sisters. We spend every single day together. Having a good bond with every single person on the team and wanting to create that bond helps us. Each person having that bond and using that to our advantage on the court. Some teams don’t like playing together and we love playing together.” Mckenna Conklin said of the success the Eagles had this season. 

Photo by Andrew Troxell

The bond and chemistry were shown through the Eagle’s games. The players on the court were almost always on the same page, everyone understood their assignment and where they needed to be to help the team win and the players on the sideline were always cheering on the players on the court. It was easy to see the bond they all shared. 

Five Eagles earned IEAC awards, and Mckenna Conklin was IEAC Co-MVP. Brooklyn Thomas and Carley Kruse were All-IEAC First Team and Megan Gajda and Trysta Vincelli were All-IEAC Second Team. Thomas led the Eagles in kills with 248 and 2.82 kills per set. Thomas also led in digs with 226 and had 2.57 digs per set. Conklin’s 2.96 kills per set led the team. This season was also the seventh consecutive winning season for the Eagles. There was a lot for this Eagles team to be proud of this season. 

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