EUREKA – Sports teams, regardless of level, usually have more success at home than away from home.
The Fieldcrest volleyball team is bucking that trend, as they stayed perfect in enemy territory following a 19-25, 25-23, 25-23 win over Heart of Illinois Conference foe Eureka on Sept. 30.
Down a set, the Knights (14-6, 4-4) trailed 15-12 in the second before they went on a 5-0 spurt to take a 17-15 lead after a service ace from Gracie Schultz, one of her seven points.
“We kind of had a slow start,” Fieldcrest coach Cathy Sanders said. “It was a matter of just keeping them calm and focused. I felt like they were confident. We were ready to go after it.”
The squads were tied at 21, 22 and 23. A lift call on Eureka (10-9, 5-3) gave the guests a set point and a set attack from Zada Baker evened the match.
“I think the officials called a tight game,” commented Hornets’ coach Lena Dohner. “We had really good ball control in the first set and that derailed a little bit.”
In the deciding set, Eureka built a four-point lead on two occasions, lastly at 16-12. It was tied at 20 before a Reese Weber tip gave the Knights a lasting lead. A Schultz kill, one of her nine, came on match point. First-year Ashlyn May had seven kills, while Alyx Carls (12 digs) followed with five.
Eureka sophomore Delaney Phillips led all hitters with 10 kills, while Alexis Charlton, Lauren Gadbois, Darby Leman and Joan Zimmerman (17 digs) each finished with four.
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The quick set attack proved beneficial for the hosts.
“We were trying to make their middles move their feet and try to create a one-on-one situation,” said Dohner.
The win moved the Knights’ road record to 6-0.
“We played better on the road. That’s a fact,” said Sanders. “There’s a lot of nerves that come into play at home. Right now, our homecourt advantage is not there.”
Maci Fandel (16) and Baker (eight) combined on 24 assists. Baker and Ella Goodrich each served five points.
Leman handed out 23 assists, while Phillips (12) and Zimmerman (nine) combined for 21 points.
“I think we had some mental errors. That’s what we’ve seen often,” said Dohner of squandering the one-set lead. “We lost focus and that cost us.”