ANKENY, Iowa – After exactly three weeks off due to postponed games, the Eagles finally got their chance back on the court against the Waldorf University Warriors Tuesday night. With a few players still missing in quarantine, the team quickly adapted to a new game plan, starting freshman Sarah Iler as the libero and rotating front row players regularly to make up for the loss of bench depth. This set of tactics worked well in the early minutes of the game against Waldorf's strong offense, but despite their best efforts to stay in the game and keep the new rotation well built, the Eagles fell in the first three sets to the fully backed Warriors. Fans from both sides showed up to support their respective teams, making for a well-attended game.
The Eagles had a shaky start, falling 15-25 in the first set to the visiting Warriors. They used this first set to get comfortable with the new players and positions on the court, working through the unfamiliar rotation without starting libero Morgan Stephens to try and overcome Waldorfs powerful front row. The second set was a much closer finish, with the Eagles fighting up until a 22-25 loss. Their final set was a heart-racing battle up until the last play, with both teams playing all the way up to a 23-23 standoff before both teams used their timeouts to strategize the last couple plays. The Eagles faltered with some incomplete serves throughout the final set, which ended in the final loss, 23-25. The Warriors front row focused on accuracy in landing their hits on the opposite floor rather then power, a factor that caused the Eagles to do a lot of running after many fierce digs. Even in the face of defeat, the Eagles showed their heart through adjusting to weeks of missed practice and staying physically robust, mentally firm, and positively enthused.
Players' notable performances included Makenna Laib, whose acrobatic skill in keeping the ball alive and experience in recognizing plays proved crucial to the Eagles defense, and Amanda Larson, who had some impressive service aces that stunned the Warriors' middle defense and got the supporting fans on their feet to cheer for another one of her strong hits over the net.
The Eagles (4-4) play their final home games on October 8, with the first game against Spurgeon College, starting at 4:00 p.m.