On Friday, Oct. 11, the no. 6 Salt Lake Community College Bruins faced off against Utah State University – Eastern (USU-E) Golden Eagles. SLCC took the game in 3 sets (27-25, 25-12, 25-14) to win its first in-conference home gain.
SLCC is now 16 and 5 on the season and undefeated in conference play at 4 and 0. The Bruins play Colorado Northwestern at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12. Students get in free with their OneCard.
The Bruins came out sluggish and spotted the Golden Eagles a 3 point lead. Carol Grasso and Bailee Kendall were instrumental in tying the game at 4, but the Bruins just couldn’t shake off the doldrums as the Golden Eagles by 4 points at 11 – 15. For most of the game, it looked like the Bruins had decided that spiking the ball just wouldn’t be fair, and their assortment of dinks and balls trying to hit the corners allowed USU-E to take the lead and stay in the set.
Jillian Campbell hit a kill shot on a classic play as she came around the backside, but Sequoia Lofton hit the ball too strong, and the Golden Eagles pushed their lead to 5 with the score 12 – 17. Kendall overpowered the defense with a spike, and USU-E answered. Then Kendall and Janessa Koelliker scored the next 2 points to make the score 15 – 18.
Kendall scored the next two points as SLCC looked to make a run, but a dink by USU-E tied the score at 19. Kendall and Hannah Wade scored the next two points, but Kendall’s short serve gave new life to the Golden Eagles with the score 21 – 20.
SLCC’s defense kicked in for the next two points with Campbell in the middle of it, but a smart play by USU-E and Wade hitting a ball long and then trying a dink that didn’t work made tied the score at 23. The Golden Eagles went up one, but a Grasso kill tied the score at 24. Campbell’s defense was the key to the next point to put the Bruins up by one. The Golden Eagles came back to tie the score at 25, but Grasso’s play was too much as she scored the next point and ended the set with an ace to make the score 27 – 25.
The rest of the game went as expected. In set two, the Golden Eagles just fell apart. USU-E just couldn’t hang with the nationally ranked Bruins though they continued to play hard. At 16 – 10, the Golden Eagles hit a short serve. Kendall hit the ball of the defense and out of bounds, and the last points that the Golden Eagles would see came from Mariana Pilon hitting a serve into the net. Between Grasso’s next four points and the defensive errors on the part of USU-E, the table was set and cleaned with a Campbell kill to make the score 25 – 12.
USU-E tied the score at 3 and then committed 3 errors. For all intents and purposes, the set and the game were over at that point. The set and game ended with a Pilon dink to make the score 25 – 14.
The Bruins have had consecutive SWAC players of the week with Kendall two weeks ago and Grasso last week each earning the honor.
Director of Student Life and Leadership Curt Larsen was named honorary coach for the game.
Colorado Northwestern is 3 and 18 on the season and is looking for their first win in the conference. SLCC will face tougher competition on Tuesday when no. 5 Western Wyoming Community College visits the Lifetime Activities Center on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus for a 6 p.m. start.