Volleyball suffers season’s first loss at Prairie View
The Eudora Cardinals volleyball team (9-1) was stunned Tuesday night in La Cygne by the Buffalos of Prairie View. The Buffalos ended the Cards undefeated season with a 25-22, 26-24 two-game victory.
"Disappointing," coach Jill Stutler said. "It was a poor performance. We were out-hustled and out-executed. We didn't come ready to play mentally or physically."
Eudora bounced back with wins over Osawatomie 25-18, 25-21 and Central Heights 25-5, 25-10.
But the Prairie View match was the story of the night.
The two teams were tied much of the first game -- tied at eight, 10 and 13. But at 13-13, the Buffalos took control of the match on a 7-1 run.
Eudora rallied, tying the game at 21-21 and 22-22, but Prairie View ended the game on a decisive 3-0 micro-run.
The match's second game mirrored the first. Poor defensive rotation, uninspired play and inconsistent offensive execution all contributed to the Cards' problems, Stutler said.
Eudora and Prairie View were tied late at 20-20. The Cards proceeded to win the next two points, establishing a 22-20 lead. But again the Buffalos finished strong -- this time on a 6-2 run.
The Cards staved off two match points before ultimately falling on a poorly set ball.
A despondent Cardinal squad left the court while an exuberant home team celebrated the upset.
Eudora was playing for the first time since its emotional wins last Tuesday over Ottawa and Wellsville. The layoff, coupled with the long drive to La Cygne, may have been a factor in Eudora's lifeless start, but the Cardinal coach didn't buy that excuse.
"I can't say that was it tonight," Stutler said. "I just don't think we're bringing the intensity consistently everyday. We can't blame that on the layoff. That's just unacceptable."
Senior Kayla Moyer didn't accept that excuse either.
"You can't really make excuses for that kind of play," Moyer said. "You just have to play a better game, and we just didn't do it.
"We just didn't play like we can. We weren't ready to play and you could tell. It was pretty bad."
Stutler said that the answer to their struggles was most likely linked to the practice court.
"We haven't been practicing to our potential, and we came in with that mode," she said. "We played not to lose instead of playing to win.
"Now that monkey's off our back, but I think we kind of hurt ourselves in the league now, which is really disappointing."
The Cardinals have made a habit of generating great comebacks. Those comebacks are generally a necessity because of Eudora's traditionally slow starts.
"We believe we can comeback anytime, but this time we just never came back," Moyer said. "We never did what we needed to do. We realize now that we can't always come back, so we need to play well at the start. So hopefully we'll start smart."
Eudora battled back with a less than impressive but ultimately effective victory over Osawatomie.
The Cards were in control of each game and the match. But the still-stunned Cardinal squad was far from dominant.
However, Eudora was more impressive in its lopsided win over Central Heights. Even then the Cards allowed a 6-0 run.
Eudora clobbered Central Heights in game one and began the second game equally impressively. Leading 7-1, the Cards allowed a 6-0 run, tying the game at seven all.
Eudora snapped out of it, winning 18 of the next 21 points.
"We rebounded a little bit better, but we were still shaky," Stutler said. "We did not have good ball control today, and when you don't have good ball control, good teams are going to exploit that."
There are plenty of good teams waiting for Eudora Saturday in Tonganoxie. Included in the group is host Tonganoxie and Ottawa, which succumbed to one of the great Cardinal comebacks last week.
Tonganoxie and Eudora are the talk of the tourney. The inevitable match-up will be a focus of conversation between now and then, and Ottawa will simply be looking to exact some revenge.
"We're going to be ready mentally and physically," Stutler said. We're going to approach practice with a different intensity level. They're all going to have to because Tongie's going to be our character test. We're going to see some good teams, and Ottawa and Tongie are going to be gunning for us. So we have to learn to play."
Moyer hopes her team can bounce back from Tuesday's disappointment.
"Hopefully it will help us refocus and realize we're beatable, and if we don't play like we should, we can get beat by anybody," she said.