MINONK – Most teams strive to win all of their home games/matches and take their chances on the road.
Eureka has evolved into a quality away squad, as they remained undefeated in enemy territory with a 25-20, 25-20 decision over Heart of Illinois Conference foe Fieldcrest on Sept. 24.
Holding a 19-17 advantage in the second set, Eureka (24-3, 10-0) called on its number one hitting option in Hailey Flowers, who delivered. The 6-foot senior crushed five consecutive kills to get the visitors to a match point.
“Hailey really came on strong,” commented Hornets’ coach Tracy Heffren. “The setters look at what’s around and look at the matchups. She (Flowers) had a good matchup with a smaller blocker on her side.”
Flowers finished with a match-high 15 kills.
A Joan Zimmerman kill wrapped up the match for Eureka.
Courtney Heffren added seven kills for the Hornets, who piled 28 over two sets.
“If you’re not ready for their fast pace, it’s difficult,” Fieldcrest coach Cathy Sanders said. “Eureka’s going to get their kills. They’re looking for the big kills. It’s a matter of the girls being ready.”
In the opening set, Fieldcrest (15-7, 5-4) dug an early 6-1 hole.
“I just think it was a little nerves and finding some rhythm,” said Sanders of the slow start.
The Knights tied it twice, lastly at eight apiece before Eureka re-took the lead on a kill from Flowers.
Fieldcrest was down 19-18 before a Heffren tip, Zimmerman kill and three consecutive service aces by Katie Morin upped the score to 24-18.
Amy Pineda (13) and Darby Leman (11) combined to hand out 24 assists, while Jochums supplied 13. C. Heffren had 10 digs for the guests, while Alyx Carls and Madi Hock each had six for Fieldcrest.
Over their last 25 true road matches, Eureka has been victorious on 21 occasions.
“Just staying focused on what we’re doing,” said Tracy Heffren when asked why her team has been so successful away from their gymnasium. “We are able to adjust and adapt to situations. Just try to line up our offense and defense. There’s still things we’re working on.”