Losses keep piling up for EWU volleyball

Eagles move to 0-16 in Big Sky play, and are down to seven healthy players


Mckenzie Ford

Sophomore MaKenna Davis gets up from a dig attempt against Montana State on Nov. 8. Davis led the team in kills, blocks and aces in the match.

By Drew Lawson, Reporter

As injuries mount and losses pile up, it’s clear that this is not the type of first season EWU volleyball head coach Leslie Flores-Cloud might have had in mind.

With just two games remaining in the regular season, the Eagles (8-20, 0-16) have yet to win a conference game, and have lost 17 matches in a row. Both players and Flores-Cloud said a desire to play the game has been key for EWU as it fights through this difficult stretch.

“When you have a deep losing streak, you have to love the game,” Flores-Cloud said. “You have to have fight in your heart. To have that all the way at the end of the season is sometimes lost on a lot of teams. I think if you watch us play, we’re still fighting out there.”

Last seven standing

EWU has dealt with a bevy of injuries. Last weekend, they only had seven healthy players, out of the roster of 16 the Eagles went into the season with. Flores-Cloud was proud of the way the team kept fighting despite being vastly shorthanded.

“You can see the culture we’re starting to create,” Flores-Cloud said. “That fight and love for the game, that is what EWU volleyball is going to be all about. Hopefully we’ll lose the injuries, but we’re going to play hard.”

EWU got off to a solid start this season, going 8-4 in nonconference play. However, the team has not won a match in over two months, with its last victory being a 3-0 (25-10, 25-21, 25-10) sweep over Alcorn State on Sept. 14.

Senior Kahle Elliot said that she believes the team can end the season by claiming that elusive conference victory.

“There’s seven of us who can play,” Elliot said. “Everyone else is injured or isn’t playing anymore. I think we’re just playing as hard as we can, every single point. We haven’t won a conference game yet, and that’s our goal. We talk about it every single day. We’re going to get a win.”

Staying positive

Elliot also said that despite the struggles, this year has been the most enjoyable of her EWU volleyball career.

“It’s really the most fun I think I’ve ever had playing,” Elliot said. “[It’s] such an adverse year, honestly, and I’m glad it’s my last year. I’m playing with the hardest working girls I’ve ever been around.”

Leaving the underclassmen with a message of always fighting, a sentiment that Flores-Cloud has given all year, is important to Elliot.

“All you need, if you’re not playing well, if your skill set isn’t there, is to bring your attitude and effort,” Elliot said. “Leslie has harped that on me every single day this season, and it’s made a difference in my play.”

Better things to come

Elliot proclaimed a trust in Flores-Cloud and shared optimism for the future of the program.

“They are going to be so good,” Elliot said. “The things that Leslie does is all so easy to learn. […] I don’t think I’ve ever had a coach who believes in every single person as much as she does. Regardless if I hit a ball 20 feet out of bounds, she’ll look at me and say, ‘you got the next one.’ I’ve never had a coach do that for me, and she’s the best coach I’ve ever had.”

Flores-Cloud said that a major takeaway of her first season as head coach is that hard work and grit often beats talent.

“The heart that the [team] has put in, I never thought would bring us this much continual love for the game,” Flores-Cloud said.

EWU concludes its season this week with a road match at Southern Utah on Nov. 15 and a home match versus Northern Arizona on Nov. 17. That match starts at 7:30 p.m. at Reese Court.