If Friday’s victory was Beauty, Saturday was the Beast.
But the Fort Lewis College volleyball team got its happy ending by capturing a gritty 3-1 victory over visiting Chadron State.
“During the intermission, we asked the girls what it was like, and one of the girls said it was like you were on a hike,” FLC head coach Shelly Aaland said. “Like it’s always hard. You’re always having to work. And it sure was.”
The Skyhawks (9-7, 5-3 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) picked up their first RMAC weekend sweep of the year, and with the powers of the East Division looming, the momentum boost is well-timed.
“I think it’s one of the best wins, in my opinion,” said Kristin Stephan, who had 10 kills for FLC. “It’s definitely like a breakthrough for us ... to be able to pull through and win games.”
FLC dropped the first set, a lethargic affair for both teams, 25-19 before rallying to win the next three 25-19, 29-27 and 25-23, closing the match on an emphatic Stephani Sonka kill that snuffed an Eagles’ rally.
Neither offense was pretty. The Eagles (3-14, 1-7 RMAC) had 29 errors to 32 for FLC.
The ugliest set was the most pivotal – the third. The teams combined for 21 errors in the frame, but FLC fought off set point three times and used a block and a kill by Stephan, an Ashley Wells kill and a block by Taylor Frederking and Wells to seal the deal 29-27, then salted the victory in the fourth set.
“It’s just a total momentum builder, and it kills their momentum, which helps us,” Stephan said of Set 3.
Wells had 19 kills and 18 digs, while Jenna Kinzer added 22 digs and Ciara Krening 45 assists and 16 digs in a phenomenal defensive effort.
“(Saturday) never felt comfortable, but we still grinded it out,” coach Aaland said.