Jaguars sink their teeth into Eudora
Eudora volleyball coach Jill Stutler thought her fourth-seeded Cardinals would defeat Mill Valley in the first round of sub-state Saturday at Tonganoxie High School.
"That's what we anticipated," Stutler said of a victory and a rematch with eventual sub-state champion Lansing (34-1). "We could never get our offense running, and we couldn't pass the ball."
Unfortunately for Eudora (19-14) (4-5), the Jaguars (16-15) had other plans.
Mill Valley took a 3-0 lead in the first set before Stutler called a timeout. The Cardinals tied the game at three with some key plays by senior Tina Lauber and junior Lauren Kracl, who led the team with seven kills.
The Jaguars then capitalized on Eudora errors and out-scored the Cards 12-1 en route a first set victory.
The Cards seemed to have shrugged off the cobwebs in the second set. Seniors Jenny Durkin and Nicole Born led Eudora to an early 6-1 advantage. The Jags stormed back into the game behind the dominant play of senior Kelli Wilbur. When Mill Valley took a 7-6 lead, it never looked back.
Down 13-6, Durkin and sophomore Kayla Moyer fought to bring the Cardinals back into the game as they scored twice, bringing it to 13-8. Mill Valley scored twice, winning the game 15-4, 15-8.
Stutler said the Cardinals lost some momentum toward the end of the season but improved by leaps and bounds since last season.
"We've had a lot of little successes; taking second place in two of three tournaments," Stutler said. "We lost some of our intensity and desire, and that's hard to get back at the end of the season."
Stutler said she was encouraged by the solid defensive play of freshman Kelsey Epperson and sophomore Brooke Bell. She said Durkin, Epperson, and senior Mallorie Cleveland were among the most improved players on the team this season.
"We're going to have to get the girls playing in the off-season more so they're learning about the game," Stutler said. "The girls can take (from this season) that they're capable of competing at a higher level."