Cardinals drop three matches in late-season swoon
The Eudora High School volleyball team beat two of the three teams it played Tuesday in a quadrangular at Paola High School. The Cardinals were unable to complete a full sweep of their competition after losing to league rival Paola in a hotly contested final match.
The Cardinals made it look easy in their first two matches of the day. They played Louisburg in their first match and won handily, 25-17 and 25-15. They then faced Baldwin, who they also dispatched of without any problem, 25-11 and 25-15.
Paola beat both of their opponents, setting up a final match between two of the top teams in the Frontier League, both qualifiers for last season's Class 4A state tournament.
The Cardinals started out a bit slowly in the firt game of the match, but then they settled in and fought off each advance made by Paola.
The Paola fans were a raucous group, but it didn't seem to faze the Cardinals, as they won the first game 30-28.
"I just told the girls to block out whatever is going on in the stands and focus," Eudora coach Jill Stutler said. "If they do that, they'll play well and what's happening with the crowd won't matter."
Paola came back and won the second game 25-22, forcing a third game.
Despite great performances by seniors Elaina Kouri and Nikki Snider, things didn't to come together in the third and final game. The game was never out of reach for the Cards, but it was never quite in their grasp, either.
A few mental mistakes, such as losing points due to an illegal rotation as well as a few points lost because of miscommunication did Eudora in.
"There were a lot of small miscues," Stutler said. "We just need to make smart decisions and hit around the block. We also need to do a better job of shutting down their best players and then we'll be in good shape."
They lost the final game 29-27.
"It was a tough loss, but I think between now and next Tuesday (when the team closes the regular season against Gardner), it's all about positive energy," Stutler said.
Over the weekend, the Cardinals finished third at the De Soto Spikefest, winning four out of six matches. They defeated Basehor, 25-13, 25-19; De Soto 25-13, 25-7; Jefferson North, 25-23, 25-15; and Osawatomie, 25-11, 25-20. They lost to Tonganoxie, 25-16, 25-17; and St. James 25-12 and 25-10.
Over the six games at Spikefest, standouts were Nikki Snider, with nine blocks and 63 kills; Haley Epperson with 12 blocks and 23 kills; and Elaina Kouri, with four blocks and 21 kills.
The Cardinals head to the Frontier League tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday in Baldwin City, where they hope to get back on track and begin to prepare for sub-state, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20.