On Aug. 28, the Eastern Michigan women’s volleyball team lost a tough five-set battle to Cleveland State in their home opener, suffering their first loss of the year to a yet undefeated Viking squad.
The Eagles were led by unstoppable senior outside hitter Rachel Iaquaniello who had 24 kills, two aces and one block and senior middle blocker Kristen Baker who had 13 kills, four aces and one block. The Eagles had some rough play to start the game.
“We had five missed serves in the first set,” said head coach Kim Berrington after the game. “We didn’t miss that many all weekend. We can’t give away any points.”
After losing the first two sets, Berrington had to make a change.
“We switched setters and the effect was immediate,” she said.
After winning the next two sets, the Eagles jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the fifth and final set of the match. Unfortunately, Cleveland State scored five of the next six points. The Eagles went ahead briefly, but the last match turned out to be all Vikings as they won 15-11, taking the match.
At one point in the fifth set, a questionable missed call took place when Cleveland State’s team hit the ball four times in one volley. The side referee made the initial call, but the head referee finally ruled in favor of Cleveland State.
“I think the side judge had it right, but in the end I don’t think the referee believed her,” Berrington said.
“Our seniors really stepped up. Our two freshmen [Sierra Reed and Alyssa Davis] did really well,” Berrington said after the game.
The Eagles are playing in the University of Illinois-Chicago Invitational in Chicago Saturday, and will follow that up with the North Texas tournament on Sept. 7 and 8.