Snow volleyball posts first loss,
but still ranked 2nd in nation
By Matt Harris
STERLING, CO.—After last week, the Snow College volleyball team is no longer undefeated, yet their one loss is like the missing eyebrows from the Mona Lisa, not detracting at all from the beauty of the Lady Badgers’ accomplishments this season.
Snow went up against a field of nationally-ranked opponents at the Northeastern Classic in Sterling, Colo., and they largely dominated, posting shutout wins over Iowa Western, 3-0, and Seward County, Kans., 3-0, and later beating the hosts, Northeastern JC, 3-1. In the middle of it, however, the high-flying Lady Badgers reentered the atmosphere when they suffered their first loss of the season, a 3-2 split in favor of the rival Utah State-Eastern Golden Eagles.
Starting out with Iowa Western, the Lady Badgers destroyed the Reivers in the first two sets, 25-13, 25-17, before pulling away in the third set, 25-20. Freshman Macy Short was setting everything up for Snow as she piled up 28 assists on the stat sheet, while sophomores Camden Strain and Bridget Talia teed off on the Reivers with 13 and 10 kills, respectively. Short and Strain also had four serving aces apiece.
It was much of the same against Seward County as the Lady Badgers pulled their second straight shutout, but when No. 11 USU-Eastern took the court, things got tougher for the Lady Badgers.
The Golden Eagles claimed the first set, 25-23, but the Lady Badgers responded with a convincing second set, 25-16. Where normally this season one would have seen Snow ride its momentum to a 3-1 victory, Snow backpedaled and took one on the jaw, 25-14.
Snow forced a fifth set with a 25-22 set point, but the Golden Eagles just narrowly escaped the Lady Badgers in the fifth, 15-13.
The Lady Badgers rebounded by wrecking Northeastern, 25-22, 21-25, 25-13, 25-15.
In a preceding tournament to start off the season, Snow amassed four straight wins against top-notch opponents; and boosted their NJCCA rankings to No. 2 in the nation.
The jump to the No. 2 spot included victories over the No. 1 Navarro College (3-1) and No. 5 Odessa College (3-1) at the Badger’s first tournament of the season, according to Coach Jeff Reynolds.
The Badgers were originally ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll, but after a solid performance at the NMMI Classic in Odessa, Texas, Snow College jumped four spots to No. 2 in this week’s rankings. The Badgers defeated Vernon College (3-0), No. 19 Missouri State-West Plains (3-0), No. 1 Navarro College (3-1) and No. 5 Odessa College (3-1).
“I told our team today that last week’s preseason poll was about the legacy our previous teams have worked hard to create, but this week’s poll is about what they accomplished last weekend down in Texas,” Reynolds said. “Every year we have a group of girls that have bought in to what we are trying to create here—a program based on values, vision, and purpose—and have worked hard to add on to what the team the previous year accomplished. Until we reach our goal as a program, I keep reminding our players that in order to do something we’ve never done, we have to keep doing things we’ve never done.”
Offensive Player of the Week
Snow College sophomore Camden Strain was named the Tachikara NJCAA Division-I Offensive Player of the Week for her performance in Texas during the first week of the season. The 6-foot-1 outside hitter posted 48 kills over 12 sets, averaging 4.0 kills per set. Strain was also named the Region XVIII Offensive Player of the Week.
Snow now stands at 7-1 overall. They’ll be in Prescott, Ariz., this week to participate in the Dalton Overstreet Invitational where they’ll take on Arizona Western, Eastern Arizona, and Yavapai College. They’ll then rematch with Eastern Arizona to end the Invitational.