The Eastern Michigan University volleyball team headed into Jenison Field House in East Lansing, Mich. over the weekend for its final tournament before conference play begins.
The Eagles went 2-1 in the Michigan State Spartan Invitational. Eastern Michigan lost to the No. 14 ranked Michigan State Spartans on Friday night, but rebounded to win both games on Saturday, defeating the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and Duquesne University Dukes.
Game 1 vs. Michigan State University
Eastern Michigan (8-4) went up against host Michigan State (8-1) in the team’s first game of the tournament. The Eagles came in on a five-game winning streak, but a strong Michigan State team proved to be too much for the Eagles. Michigan State swept all three sets (25-18, 25-19, 25-18).
“They’re a tough team,” EMU head coach Kim Berrington said. “We had to play an almost perfect set. We made some errors late, and in a game to 25, that’s all it takes. We saw why Michigan State is 14th in the country.”
Junior Jill Briner had four assists in the first set, and sophomore Stacey Perinar had three kills in the second. Briner was the highlight of the third set with an impressive eight assists.
Game 2 vs. University of Cincinnati
In its second game, Eastern Michigan (8-5) rebounded from Friday night’s loss to dominate the winless Cincinnati Bearcats (0-11), winning all three sets (25-20, 25-19, 25-18). Eastern was especially strong toward the end. Senior Paige Roback had six kills for the Eagles in the third set.
Eastern’s win can be attributed to a great overall team effort. In the first set, Briner had an ace, two kills and five assists; junior Megan Crawshaw had four kills; and senior Erin Short had three. In the second set, Crawshaw had another four kills, and Briner and redshirt sophomore Kelsey Jones each had three.
Game 3 vs. Duquesne University
Eastern Michigan (9-5) split four sets against the Duquesne Dukes (5-6) three sets to one (25-22, 25-21, 22-25, 25-17). Eastern Michigan was strong early on. Briner had two aces, six kills, and five assists in the first set. The Eagles had four aces as a team in the first set.
In the second set, Briner and Jones each had three kills, and Short had four in the third. In the fourth set, Crawshaw had three kills. Briner had two and six assists. The Eagles were consistent in their third match. Eastern had only 16 errors through four sets.
Eastern Michigan looked strong all weekend, and with the exception of the loss to Michigan State, the team continued its winning ways. Briner, Short, Jones, Crawshaw and Roback all had very strong showings this weekend. The Eagles bench also played well against the Bearcats and the Dukes.
The Eagles hold a 10-5 record heading into Mid-American Conference play. The team hosts the Ball State University Cardinals (10-3) this Friday at 7 p.m. and the University of Toledo Rockets (6-5) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Follow Robert Jones on Twitter @RobertJonesEcho