Fulton, MO, 10/23/21 – The Blue Jay volleyball team knew that coming into Saturday's matchup with Spalding University Golden Eagles was a big one in the battle for positioning for the upcoming SLIAC Conference Tournament. The Blue Jays began the day in sole possession of second place in the SLIAC but Spalding lurked only a game back. The inspired Blue Jays met the challenge and secured the season sweep over Spalding in straight sets (25-18, 25-19, 25-21). The win improves the Blue Jays record to
11-14 overall and 7-2 in SLIAC play. The Golden Eagles fell to 9-11 and 7-4 in the SLIAC.
The Blue Jays fell behind early in the first set and trailed 11-8 before they made their move. Powered by nine Haley Menke (O'Fallon, MO / Fort Zumwalt West) kills and six Eryka Wanyonyi (Columbia, MO / Hickman) kills in the first set sent the Blue Jays to a 25-18 set win and a 1-0 lead in the match. The Jays hit an impressive .364 in the first set.
The second set saw the Jays jump out to a 10-5 lead on a Erica Schrader (Imperial, MO / St. Pius X) service ace. The Blue Jays hit a total of five service aces in the second set to help propel them to a 25-19 win and a 2-0 match lead.
The Blue Jays would look for the knockout blow in the third set. Spalding would not go quietly. The Golden Eagles played their best in the third set as they tried to stay alive. The Golden Eagles looked like they were going to force a fourth set when they led 21-18 late. The Blue Jays would rally going on a exciting 7-0 run to close out the set and the game. The run was led by three Wanyonyi kills and then with the score 23-21 setter Gretchen Durbala (Burlington,IA / Burlington) would ace the Golden Eagles two times in a row to win the set 25-21 and the match 3-0.
Wanyonyi and Menke had outstanding days with 14 and 13 kills respectfully. Menke hit a team high .320 and Wanyonyi was right behind her hitting .300. Durbala recorded 29 assists in the game. Wanyonyi led the Blue Jay defense with 11 digs followed by sisters Erica and Kirsten Schrader (Imperial, MO / St. Pius X) who tallied seven digs each. The Blue Jays were led at the net by Durbala and Payton Bledsoe (Mexico, MO / Mexico) who recorded three total blocks each. The stat of the night saw the Blue Jays record a season high 13 service aces led by Durbala and Kate Rable (Saint Peters, Mo. / Fort Zumwalt South) who recorded four each.
The Blue Jays will be back in action on Wednesday October 27th when they will travel to Carlinville, Illinois to take on the Blackburn College Beavers. The match is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. first serve. Due to heightened COVID-19 protocols at Blackburn College no fans from either team will be allowed to attend. The game can be watched at the following link on the Blackburn College website HERE.