Cardinals struggle at Tonganoxie tournament
After a tough weekend tournament in which it suffered its first losses of the season, the Eudora High School volleyball team was back in action again Tuesday night in a triangular at Spring Hill.
However, after finishing in fifth place with a record of 3-2 at the Tonganoxie Invitational, the Cardinals were in a bit of a funk as they dropped a three-game set against Paola, 25-13, 23-25, 26-24. In fact, it took three games for EHS to win its first match of the evening, defeating Spring Hill, 20-25, 25-18, 25-20.
"We just didn't come out ready to play," Eudora volleyball coach Jill Stutler said. "From our warm-up on, it was just a struggle in any aspect of the game. We just didn't bring our game to play today."
The Cardinals did see some tough competition on Saturday as their two losses came by way of a three-game set against Olathe East, 25-14, 16-25, 25-22, and a sweep at the hands of Great Bend, 25-19, 25-22. It then took Eudora three games to put away Ottawa for fifth place, winning by scores of 26-24, 23-25, 25-18.
"It was a little disappointing finishing as low as we did," Stutler said. "When we played Great Bend, we didn't show much emotion. Instead of doing what we needed to do, we kind of just played to get by."
There were a few bright spots, though, especially the three-game battle against Olathe East.
"I like how we battled in the second and third game against Olathe East," Stutler said. "We ended up blocking well and playing defense well, especially in the second game. We just made a few critical mistakes in the third game that added points to their side."
One of the lone bright spots in the tournament came from senior outside hitter Nikki Snider. For the tournament, she pounded out 70 kills while leading the team in digs with 43.
Setter Mariah Webb also added 38 digs while leading the team with 104 assists, completing 98 percent in the tournament.
Although the Cardinals are reaching the midpoint in their season, there is still a lot of volleyball left to be played. It isn't so much the losses, though, that bother Stutler, it is her team's approach during the games that has raised red flags.
"I think our mindset right now is not intense and ready to go all out," Stutler said. "It's like I told the girls, it is not about us winning and losing games, it is about how we are supposed to be performing. We are not performing at an intensity level that we need to. During the Olathe game this last weekend, we played with the intensity that we needed to. We are just having too many letdowns and not playing with a purpose ... not having that sense of urgency out there."
As for the team's upcoming schedule, Eudora (11-3) is slated to attend the Wellsville tournament on Saturday, which will feature tough competition as well.
"We've got another tough tournament in Wellsville," Stutler said. "St. James will be there, Wellsville is scrappy and West Franklin will be tough. We've got to do it now. We can't wait until the next day to turn it on because if that is the philosophy that we are going to have, we are going to be finished pretty quick."
Snider had a tough outing Tuesday as she led the team in kills with 17, but committed 21 hitting errors. She did manage to finish second on the team along with Haley Epperson with 19 digs.
Kayci Vickers was solid against Spring Hill and Paola as she logged 26 total digs.