The Chadron State volleyball team played its final home matches of the season this weekend, but were unable to continue their recent trend of Chicoine Center victories, coming up short in four sets to University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Friday, and suffering a sweep at the hands of Colorado School of Mines, Saturday.
Despite facing the RMAC leading Orediggers of Colorado Mines, several Eagles put up big numbers in the 25-18, 25-18, 25-23 loss, beginning with strong play from Eagles’ libero Ashton Burditt, junior of Spearfish, South Dakota, who had 18 digs from the back row.
Chadron State’s Brooke Gardner, junior of Princeville, Illinois, and Chandler Hageman, sophomore of Chadron, led the attack for the Eagles, with Hageman hitting .529 and accounting for 10 kills. Gardner had a team-high 13 kills while hitting .478. Senior Madison Webb contributed 36 assists.
After a pair of 25-18 losses in the first and second sets, the Eagles battled back in the third, running out to an 8-2 lead they’d hold until late in the match when a Mines kill by outside hitter Megan Neil, freshman of Shawnee Mission, Kansas, tied the score at 22. Chadron State’s Aracely Hernandez, freshman of Greeley, Colorado, answered with a kill of her own to put the Eagles in front 23-22, but three straight Mines kills earned them the set and match.
Hernandez, who as a freshman has established herself as a key part of the Eagles’ attack, had an off night, with five attack errors while converting just four of 21 attempts.
“I’m proud again of how the girls competed,” Eagles’ Head Coach Riann Mullis said to CSC Sports Information following the loss. “We won some of the things we’d been battling, as far as consistency in energy, and consistency in competitiveness. Mines just played a really clean match. If we had matched this performance (Friday) night, against UCCS, I think things would have gone differently.”
Chadron State was able to put up points in bunches during the first set against the UCCS Mountain Lions Friday evening, establishing an 11-4 lead on the back of five-and-four point streaks early in the set. The Eagles’ would then extend that lead to 19-9 with another four-point streak, and close out the set 25-13 with a five-point run that began with a Mountain Lion attack error and ended with an ace by Chadron’s Webb.
Following the first set loss, UCCS would go on to win the next three sets 25-18, 25-19, 25-12.
On Saturday against Mines, Chadron State’s seniors were honored prior to their final match in front of their home crowd. The Eagles’ will graduate four players following the season; they are Webb, Dominika Senkerikova, of Uhersky Brod, Czech Republic; Mickey Trimble, of Platte City, Missouri; and Megan Chintala, of Fleming, Colorado.
Chadron State’s now 5-9 RMAC record (7-16 overall) has them ranked 10th of the conference’s 16 teams. The Eagles will play each of their four remaining regular season games on the road, beginning with South Dakota Mines this Friday.
The rival Hardrockers are currently ranked 15th in the conference with a 1-14 RMAC record (4-21 overall).