The Eastern Michigan women’s volleyball team opened up its season against Utah State on Aug. 30.
The Eagles got off to a flying start with a 3-2 victory but proceeded to go 2-3 in their next five games, with losses to Southern Utah, Xavier and Louisiana. The wins were against Florida A&M and most recently, McNeese State. Eastern swept McNeese state with scores of 25-11, 25-20 and 26-24.
The Eagles will now start the Michigan Challenge, three games against Navy on Sept. 14 at home, Michigan on Sept. 15 on the road and Purdue Fort Wayne on Sept. 17 at the Convocation Center. MAC play begins Sept. 27 with a match against rival Western Michigan in Kalamazoo.
Eastern returns four seniors and two juniors to the team and is led by Cassie Haut, a redshirt senior from Monroe. Haut was voted to the preseason All-MAC West team; she’s also the team leader in service aces at five and blocks at 23.
Darcy Dorton is the new head coach after Kimi Olson left last season. This is Dorton’s first stint as a head coach. She played at the College of Charleston and then transferred to Penn State. At Penn State, she was voted Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2009 and went on to become a national champion in that same season. Penn State reached the national championship the following year as well. She then transferred to Charleston State in 2011, where she was named a 2012 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American Honorable Mention, finishing with 4.2 kills per set.
The Eagles came into the season as the defending MAC champions, also gaining a berth in the NCAA Tournament last year. The preseason poll has them voted to finish third in the MAC West division. In their most recent tournament, the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic, the Eagles defeated Florida A&M 3-1 behind 18 assists from Jayden Otto.
Eastern fell to Louisiana before taking down McNeese State 3-0 in the tournament finale. Franki Strefling had 16 digs in the victory. The home opener will take place on Saturday, Sept. 14 versus Navy. The Eagles are looking to move to 4-3 before their battle against the Michigan Wolverines the following match.