College Volleyball: Eagles wrap up 3rd straight Cal-Pac title

Embry-Riddle focused on upcoming conference tournament

Embry Riddle's Lyndsey Weiler (22) goes for a kill as the Eagles take on La Sierra University in volleyball Friday at the Prescott campus. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Photo by Les Stukenberg.

Embry Riddle's Lyndsey Weiler (22) goes for a kill as the Eagles take on La Sierra University in volleyball Friday at the Prescott campus. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

by Brian M. Bergner Jr.

Lyndsey Weiler had 15 kills, Audrey Baldwin added 40 assists and the Embry-Riddle volleyball team claimed its third-straight regular season Cal-Pac title with a 3-1 win over rival La Sierra on Friday afternoon.

It is the 14th-straight victory for the Eagles, which also set the all-time wins mark for a Cal-Pac team with 23.

Weiler led the match with a .542 hitting percentage and committed only two errors on 24 total attacks.

Embry-Riddle (23-3, 12-0 Cal-Pac) took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series with wins in game one (25-17) and game two (25-22), but struggled in game three with a 25-15 loss. The Eagles recovered quickly in game four (25-21) to complete the victory.

The Eagles are in familiar territory, having won the last two regular season Cal-Pac titles, but watching their season come to an early close after losing to La Sierra in the conference tournament.

“I wish I knew the secret formula, we’re working on it. And we’re trying to address some of the issues that we came up against the last couple of years,” longtime Embry-Riddle head coach Jill Blasczyk said, adding with three matches to go before the tournament, the Eagles have time to get it right.

“We have to remember that this is not the same team, the same dynamic. We have a new setter, freshman that are contributing, we have a different team on the floor,” Blasczyk said. “So I’m hoping that mentality of the past couple years is kind of forgotten.”

Baldwin, who added three kills, three block assists and three digs to her assist total Friday, said the win over La Sierra (14-9, 7-4 Cal-Pac) “really feels good” because the Eagles “played well together.

“I think we recognized when we weren’t playing well and got ourselves out of those ruts instead of it costing us the match,” Baldwin said.

Jalin Yoder, a 5-foot-10 junior outside hitter who recorded 11 kills, five digs and two assists against La Sierra, said the Eagles are determined to finally get over the hump and win the conference title.

“We’ve been in this position the past two years, winning conference and getting to the championships, but I think this year, we’re a lot more experienced because we’ve done it before,” Yoder said. “We know what to do. These next few weeks are important for us.”

RULE CHANGE

Due to recent rule changes within the Cal-Pac Conference, Embry-Riddle will host the conference tournament next season after claiming the regular season title, according to Eagles athletic director Jaime Long on Friday.

UP NEXT

Embry-Riddle is scheduled to host Providence Christian College (8-15, 3-6 Cal-Pac) for senior day today in their final home match of the season. Official start time is set for 3:30 p.m.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is sports editor for The Daily Courier, the Prescott Valley Tribune and the Chino Valley Review. Follow him on Twitter at @SportsWriter52 or on Facebook @SportsAboveTheFold. Email bbergner@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.