The No. 7 Bruins defeated the No. 4 College of Southern Idaho Golden Eagles in a four set fight (25-22, 26-24, 23-25, 25-23).
The Bruins will face No. 16 North Idaho College on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.
The game is scheduled to be streamed online at www.nicathletics.com/
Neither team could break away from the other. The score featured several ties until the Bruins went up two points on scores by Bailee Kendall and Janessa Koelliker to make the score 20 to 18. The Golden Eagles called a time out, which allowed them to score the next point to make the score 20 to 19. Koelliker had a kill to keep CSI down by two, but the Golden Eagles responded with a point of their own. Kendall and Koelliker combined on a block to make the score 22 to 20. The Golden Eagles reeled off the next two points to tie the set at 22 and force an SLCC timeout. The Bruins responded with kills by Koelliker and Jillian Campbell. Campbell and Baylie Henrie combined for a block to finish the Golden Eagles in the set.
The second set saw the Bruins take an early lead on consecutive points from Sequoia Lofton, a combined block by Lofton and Campbell and another point by Campbell to make the score 8 to 3. Carol Grasso and Lofton had points to keep the Golden Eagles down five points and make the score 10 to 5, and SLCC looked good as they were able to ground the Golden Eagles for most of the set.
Unfortunately, a Kendall kill to make the score 17 to 14 was the last point that SLCC saw while CSI reeled of the next five points in a row to make the score 17 to 19. The Bruins scored point 18 on a service error for the Golden Eagles, and a Koelliker kill tied the score at 19. The teams tied again at 24, but Campbell’s and Grasso’s combined defense and a bad set by the Golden Eagles gave the set to the Bruins.
With the score 13 to 15, CSI did its best to look like the Keystone Cops as they committed three attacking errors and faced one of Grasso’s 18 kills on the evening. A timeout could not stop CSI’s fumbling, and SLCC was able to take a 20 to 16 lead on two attacking errors and another Grasso kill. That is when Golden Eagles player #14 Pati Anae swept in and decided that she had enough of her team’s capers.
Anae scored a point, the Golden Eagles committed an attacking error, and then Anae went off scoring the next five points including the one just after an SLCC timeout. With the score 21 to 22, Kendall was able to tie the game at 22. Anae scored the next point, and Kendall committed and attacking error to make the score 22 to 24. SLCC kept it close with Koelliker and Grasso combining for a block, but the Bruins couldn’t overcome the momentum built by Anae and gave the set away.
The Bruins started the set with an ace by Mariana Pilon. The teams battled back and forth, but in spite of some stellar play by Lofton, the Bruins found themselves down by two with the score 8 to 10. The team took the lead with Henrie serving, and Campbell scoring three of the Bruins points, but Henrie’s service error tied the game at 14. The Bruins next three attacking errors resulted in a timeout with the score 14 to 17.
The timeout did what it was supposed to do as the Bruins righted the ship and scored the next five points to make the score 19 to 17. With the score tied at 23, the Bruins decided that it was time to bear down and score the final two points, one of which was a Koelliker kill.
CSI is the defending NJCAA National Champions. If the Bruins are able to take care of business in Coeur d’Alene, SLCC should find their team ranked higher than No. 7 when they return for home games starting on Oct. 11.
The team is currently 14 and 5 on the season and 2 and 0 in SWAC play.