Originally Published: November 8, 2018 11:27 p.m.
PRESCOTT — Jalin Yoder and Sharik Joseph each had 12 kills, Audrey Baldwin added 40 assists and the Embry-Riddle volleyball team will play for a second straight Cal Pac title after a 3-0 sweep of UC-Merced in the conference tournament semifinals Thursday night.
The Eagles (27-6, 16-0 Cal Pac) were strong in almost every statistical category in their win Thursday but were strongest in their ability to both hit and dig their way out of trouble. The Eagles had an equal amount in both categories and seemed to wear down the Bobcats, who held tough in the early going.
As was evident for those in attendance, the Eagles ability to make plays and come at the Bobcats in waves was important, but it was really the Eagle offense that seemed to be their biggest strength.
“We executed and we had good energy and really we were able to overwhelm them with our offensive options and that’s really what’s got us here to this point,” Eagles coach Jill Blasczyk said. “To see us play and to finish especially the third set like that was a lot of fun.”
And finish the third set they did. The Eagles won each set by a bigger margin then the set prior, finishing the third with a convincing score of 25-12 and seemingly played better as the game wore on and the home crowd began to grow.
“Last year we were at La Sierra for the finals so we kind of had to create our own energy to get through it, so this year it’s just an extra boost that we have,” sophomore outside-hitter Caylee Robalin said.
For the Eagles looking forward to Saturday, they will face the winner of No. 2 La Sierra and the No. 3 Benedictine-Mesa, both of whom they have been successful against this season.
“It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be competitive,” Blasczyk said. “La Sierra has a lot of weapons on their side of the net as well. It’s going to be great energy, we know that, and it’s going to be a great match.”
“I think the two best teams, assuming La Sierra wins the evening, the best two teams will go at it for a championship and what’s better than that?”
The Eagles host the Cal Pac Conference Tournament championship match against either La Sierra or Benedictine-Mesa. Results were unavailable at press time.
Chris Whitcomb is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @AZChris32. Email him at email@example.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.