For the first time in 11 seasons, the Chadron State College volleyball team has won 10 matches.
The Eagles accomplished that last weekend by defeating South Dakota Mines in three sets and Black Hills State in four during RMAC matches on the road.
CSC slipped past Mines 25-20, 25-21, 25-23 on Friday night in Rapid City and bested Black Hills State 25-18, 23-25, 25-16, 25-19 Saturday night in Spearfish.
The last time the Eagles reached double digits in wins was 2007, when they finished 11-19 overall and were 8-11 in the conference.
The Eagles are now 10-15 for the season and 7-9 in the RMAC. Following the weekend action, they were tied with Black Hills for the eighth and final slot in the conference playoffs entering the final two regular-season matches for all the conference teams.
Chadron State will wrap up its regular-season schedule by playing at Colorado Mines on Friday night and Colorado Christian on Saturday night. Black Hills hosted South Dakota Mines on Tuesday night after this edition of the Chadron Record was printed and will visit Colorado-Colorado Springs on Friday night.
If the teams finish with identical records, the Eagles would advance to the playoffs since they defeated the Yellow Jackets in both matches this year. However, Black Hills admittedly entered the week with a more favorable schedule.
The Jackets had defeated both of their foes this season, while just two weeks ago both Colorado Mines and Christian swept the Eagles in Chadron. Mines is 15-1, Christian is 13-3 and Colorado Springs is 9-7 while South Dakota Mines was 1-14 in conference play entering this week’s schedule.
The Eagles did not hit well against South Dakota Mines, but had no serving errors and played exceptional defense. They hit just .097 percent, one of their lower marks of the season, based on 38 kills and 23 hitting errors.
Among the leaders at the net was junior Nae Springs, who had 12 kills and seven hitting miscues in 38 attempts for a .132 percentage. Senior Gaby Varela played in the middle and had eight kills and four errors in 21 hits for a .190 figure. Varela also led the defense at the net with a solo block and five that were assisted.
Coach Riann Mullis had good words for the top diggers—senior Emily Bruce with 29 and freshman Karli Noble with 19, as well as for setter Madison Webb, who had 34 assists and “did a good job of running the floor,” according to the coach.
Mines was led at the net by senior Emily Newton with 11 kills and two hitting errors and junior Anna Breidt, who was nine and two. As a team the Hardrockers hit .115, but had eight service errors to give the Eagles a big boost.
Four Eagles reached double digits in kills at Black Hills. Varela had 19, Dominika Senkerikova 15, Springs 12 and Keisel 10. Partially because the Yellow Jackets are excellent blockers, the CSC quartet totaled 24 hitting infractions and CSC hit only .202 as a team, but the visitors still won by a comfortable margin on the scoreboard.
Webb’s 65 assists are the second highest in a four-set match of her career and Bruce came up with 36 digs. Sophomore Ashton Burditt, a native of Spearfish, chipped in 18 digs and Noble added 14.
CSC was credited with only one total block compared to 11 for Black Hills, but the Eagles’ 65 kills were 22 more than the Yellow Jackets managed. The visitors also had just two service errors for another positive.