In boxing, when a fighter loses a few bouts in a row his promoters will set up a “gimme,” an easy-to-win fight with a lesser opponent to rebuild his confidence. But, there are no such luxuries in volleyball.
After their loss to the South Medford Panthers on Thursday, Sept. 27th, Eagles varsity coach, Beth Bilden, agreed that winning a game now would translate into more wins for the rest of the season. “Everything would change,” Bilden said. “But, it’s just getting over that hurdle right now.”
Scores for the three sets were 13-25, 24-26 and 23-25, all in favor of the Panthers.
The Eagles took a bit of a beating in the first set, but came back fighting in the second. An eight-point-run served by Kelly Brawner, with two points scored on blocks from Taylor Bidwell, put the Eagles at what looked like a comfortable lead. But, South Medford slowly worked their way up again. At game point, the Panthers managed a side out and two quick points to take the set.
Eagle Point and South Medford were alternately in the lead for the whole third set, and the Eagles were up 22-18 near the end. They were three points away from a fourth set, but somehow, the Eagles lost their step right as the Panthers put together an aggressive rally.
Kelly Brawner and Brianna Shopp each served 3 aces over the course of the game. Brawner also got 16 digs, next to Shopp’s 13 digs. Taylor Bidwell had 10 kills, and Hannah Morris set 13 assists.
Coach Bilden complimented Morris’s ability to communicate with her teammates. “She takes control of the court,” Bilden said. “As far as [a] vocal leader, she’s a pretty good one.”
Freshman and JV Eagles also took their lumps from South Medford. The freshman lost in two sets by scores of 20-25 and 23-25. JV lost in two as well, with identical scores 21-25, and 21-25. Coaches Hannah Mannenbach and Brittany Reynolds both cited small mistakes and faltering communication as the biggest factors.
“We’re going to try and work some of those bugs out,” Reynolds said. “And see if we can’t get six on the court that will talk the whole time.”
The schedule shows their next home game is Tuesday, Oct. 2nd against Roseburg, and then on Thursday, Oct. 4th, they go to a tournament at Ashland High School.