In a close game, the No. 7 Salt Lake Community College Bruins clawed their way to victory against the No. 8 College of Southern Idaho (CSI) Golden Eagles in 5 sets (23-25, 25-21, 25-27, 25-18, 15-13).
The Bruins are two games ahead of the Golden Eagles in the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) and will host the Region 18 tournament on Nov. 8 and 9.
The Bruins had the dinks working early and took a 15 – 11 lead on a Jillian Campbell dink that rolled across the other side of the net. The Golden Eagles scored the next two points in spite of a Baylie Henrie dive. Carol Grasso had a dink kill over the defense that kept SLCC in the lead at 16 – 13.
CSI tied the score at 16 that forced a Bruin timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Bailee Kendall had a kill, and Janessa Koelliker denied the Golden Eagles Mercedes Vaughn on a kill attempt. SLCC served into the net, and CSI’s Jessi Seumalo tapped the ball over the net to tie the score at 18.
The score was tied at 20 when a CSI serve ended up in the net, and Koelliker followed with an ace. Grasso’s kill made it 23 – 20, but the Golden Eagles scored the next 5 points for the win. CSI was just better during that stretch, and it was the difference in the set.
Henrie started the set with an ace, and Grasso hit a vicious kill off of CSI’s Braiden Johnston, but the Golden Eagles took an early lead at 5 – 8. The Bruins tied the game at 8 with a Koelliker ace, and two Grasso kills made it 10 – 8. The Golden Eagles were able to tie the score again at 14 when a Koelliker dink didn’t work and Sequoia Lofton’s spike was rejected.
A beautiful Henrie assist set up a Koelliker kill, and the Bruins took the lead that they would not relinquish at 15 – 14. Lofton finished the game with an ace to give the Bruins the set at 25 – 21.
Henrie started the Bruins with a set kill, but the teams held pretty even with no more than 2 points separating them. The Bruins tied the score up at 20 on a Koelliker kill. She followed that score with an ace off of Johnston, but the Golden Eagles rallied to score the next two points for a 21 – 23 score on a play that showed the Bruins frustration and problems communicating. A Grasso kill and Vaughn’shit out of bounds tied the score at 23. The teams exchanged scores to tie it again at 24.
Koelliker pinballed a spike off three CSI players, and the Golden Eagles called a timeout with SLCC leading 25 – 24.
A Hannah Wade dink couldn’t get the Bruins the score, and the teams battled for the next two points. The set ended with the ball going off of the fingertips of the SLCC defense and questions on both sides about the officiating.
Grasso came out on the floor holding her side. She left before the set started but returned after getting checked out by the trainer. Adria Downs replaced Grasso in the lineup, and SLCC jumped out to an early 5 – 1 lead.
A Henrie set kill gave the Bruins a 10 – 6 lead, which the team gave up in the next 4 points. With the score tied at 10, the Golden Eagles served the ball out. Mariana Pilon’s heroic save on a broken play gave SLCC the point after CSI hit the ball into the net.
The Bruins reeled off a total of 6 points in a row to make it 16 – 10, and set four was never really in question after that even with CSI still playing hard. A Kendall kill ended the set at 25 – 18 in spite of the Golden Eagle’s hustle.
The Bruins jumped out to an early lead at 4 – 1 that prompted a timeout by the Golden Eagles. SLCC couldn’t keep the lead, and CSI tied the game at 6.
A Koelliker kill that pinballed off two CSI players gave SLCC a1 point lead, and Pilon was able to follow that up with a kill that fund the hole in the defense.
CSI tied the score at 8, and the teams exchanged points with ties at 10, 11, and 12. A Kendall kill that CSI returned out of bounds tied the score again at 13. Koelliker D’ed up the ball with power to give SLCC a 14 – 13 lead. A Koelliker kill in the corner gave the Bruins the win and the comfortable lead for hosting the playoffs.
The seven outgoing sophomores were honored before the game: Koelliker, Indigo Allen, Henrie, Kendall, Downs, Campbell and Wade.
Wade took home player of the game honors. The honorary coach of the game was Brandi Mair.
The Bruins have two games left in conference play. They face CNCC on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in Rangeley, CO and USU-Eastern on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. in Price, UT. One win gives the Bruins the SWAC championship.
SLCC is undefeated in conference play at 8 and 0 and is 20 and 6 on the season.