Cardinal volleyball posts 14-0 record
It's getting to the point that if a team doesn't have to play the Eudora volleyball team, they won't.
The Cardinals took their undefeated record Tuesday back to Wellsville. Joining Eudora were Anderson County and Gardner-Edgerton.
Eudora defeated Gardner-Edgerton 25-15, 25-15 and Wellsville 25-18, 25-20. The two match victories raised Eudora's record to a gaudy 14-0.
They did not, however, play Anderson County. The Cards face Anderson County at least three more times this year. Tuesday's match-up, which was scheduled as a non-league game, was deemed unnecessary, so the teams chose not to engage.
And the teams that did wished they had a way out, too.
Gardner-Edgerton brought a team strong in physical abilities but weak in strategic execution.
"We did a good job in the first game of neutralizing their middle hitters," said head coach Jill Stutler. "We just need to learn to apply that in the second game as well. We're still learning."
Arguably the greatest lesson still to be learned is in the art of communication. Eudora is a close-knit group, running just seven deep. The team's chemistry is unquestioned, but sometimes this unit takes its familiarity for granted. They assume that everyone else is always on the same page, often neglecting verbal communication at the expense of missed opportunities.
"We're a little worried that we're just playing to get by in some aspects of things and it's hurting us," Stutler said. "When we play a team like Wellsville that has some girls that can really put the ball down, then we can't just get by anymore. We're going to be working on that."
Indeed Wellsville "has some girls that can put it down." They feature 6-foot-1-inch junior Lacey Roecker and the high-flying 5-3 freshman sensation Bobbi Pearce.
Wellsville gave Eudora everything they had Sept. 16 when the Cardinals won 25-22, 25-17.
The Eagles were eager and energized again Tuesday. The two teams were tied at 14 late in the first game. From there Eudora responded with an 11-3 run.
The second game looked eerily similar to the first. This time knotted at 12, the Cards made an 8-1 run.
Leading comfortably at 20-13, Eudora let down its guard. The Eagles put together a 7-1 run of their own, pulling to within one at 21-20. But Eudora put its game-face back on. A crucial kill by sophomore Carrie Lister maintained Eudora's lead. Then three consecutive points by senior standout Lauren Kracl and her freshman sister Erin Kracl cemented Wellsville's demise.
Each player continues to contribute tremendously to this season. Each player knows her roles and excels in them.
Lauren Kracl is an all-everything talent that rivals anyone in the state.
Erin Kracl suffers from the inconsistencies of a freshman but has an uncompromising capacity for the clutch and presents an imposing defensive presence on the court.
Super setting sophomore Kelsey Epperson is the silent star of the team. She gets lost in Lauren Kracl's shadow -- ironically a shadow that she helps create.
Senior serving specialist Kelly Spence operates as the team's closer, coming in to effectively serve out games.
Athletic juniors Brooke Bell and Kayla Moyer serve as consistent and versatile cogs in the Cardinal machine.
And Lister operates as a critical hired gun to offset Lauren Kracl's power.
Together the super seven form an unsatisfied 14-0 team that has yet to play its best volleyball.
Eudora's next challenge comes Saturday at the Tonganoxie Invitational. Games begin at 8 a.m.