Thus far in the very early season, Eads’ head coach Janelle Crow is still looking for the magic combination that will produce results for her young volleyball team. And young they are as the Lady Eagles has nada seniors on their team. Currently, Eads is 0-2 on the early season, dropping contests to Springfield, 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 10-25, 20-25), and Otis, 3-0 (7-25, 17-25, 13-25)
Eads is led by three juniors that have seen court time last year. They include Brenna Rouse as an outside hitter, Mariah Smith is in the middle hitter position, and Mindi Uhland takes on some of the setting duties. Eads is very dependent on a host of talented, but inexperienced sophomores who saw limited varsity action a year ago. The sophomores include Hadlie Rittgers who is the off-side setter and right-side hitter; Emily Gyurman playing as an outside hitter; Brooklynn Jones in the middle; and Lauren Spady as the new Libero. Lydia Splitter, from Plainview, assists the team in a number of roles and has thus far been in nearly every position possible. Reagen Johnson, another sophomore, is an athletic player that will see some court time, as well. The freshmen are left and they make up a large part of the team as there are two players, Kaycee Ellenberger and Lauren Brown, who have made the varsity team and are doing a great job giving the starters some blows as they figure out the intensity level required to play at the next level.
Eads started out well in their first set of the season and soundly put it to Springfield, 25-19. They looked as if they were putting some things together until Springfield made some adjustments that worked against the young Eagles. In the first game, Rittgers was an effective server getting 5 points off her serve. Rouse played a nice role on the outside getting a couple of kills and contributing four points. But Springfield came to play in the second game and only Rouse could find any production at the service line. The junior would add six points of which five came in a string where Eads got back into the game midway through. By the third game Eads was frustrated and they allowed senior Ally Loflin to rattle off ten points, including three ace serves. She would serve out while Eads was struggling to make a pass that would allow a good set to hit. Finally, in game 4, Eads put together a good showing and battled to the bitter end. Gyurman would lead the scoring with seven points.
Otis volleyball is well-known as the Lady Bulldogs have been to state multiple times and usually end up in the final four when they do. There is a tradition there that is hard to beat. Eads was out-gunned from the get-go as the first game was a dismal, 7-25, loss. Otis’ serving kept Eads off balance where they could not set up an offense. On the other side of the court, Otis has some hitters that were daunting. In Game 2 the Lady Eagles battled back and gave the Otis Six a good game losing 17-25. Gyurman and Brown would team up in the rotation to be effective coming out with seven points including three aces. In the third and final game the Lady Eagles never gave up but they just did not have enough fire power to hang with the Bulldogs. They would lose the final game 13-25.
Eads now travels to Genoa-Hugo to take on the Lady Pirates on Friday night of Fair. They will be looking for their first win this week.
Photo Credit Rhonda Uhland