By Havanna Hagans
Despite losses on Friday against Murray State and Tuesday against Morehead, Eastern’s volleyball team beat UT-Martin 3-0 while senior Brittany Nobilio made her way into fourth place for the NCAA career digs list.The Colonels were behind for merely the whole game on Friday against Murray. However, they started making their way back at 13-18. The Racers’ lead was cut to three at 20-23, but they continued to pull away, winning game one 23-30.
Eastern was close in game two, but still far away.
The Racers led by nine and increased to 12 at 8-18. Eastern was making a comeback at 21-25, but the Racers kicked it in gear taking game two at 24-30.
At the half, the Colonels had 15 errors to the Racers’ six.
Nobilio and Amanda Wilson were already making their mark in the double digits.
“The one thing Murray will do is they will play defense,” Duncan said. “They will keep balls alive and in order to beat a team like that, you’ve gotta be patient. You have to be willing to put your time in.”
After the break, the Colonels did just that by starting to decrease errors.
Game three was much closer than the first two for the Colonels as they stayed within three points of the Racers. The score was tied at 19, 20, 21, where the Colonels took their first lead of the game; 23 and 26.
After a tip by Bridget Mustard and a slam by Amanda Fago, Eastern was tied at 28. As the Colonels served the game point, fans rose to their feet. However, the game tied again at 29 and 30, with the Racers winning the match.
The Colonels have one only five of their 23 games this season. Nobilio, who joined the team as a freshman, has not suffered this long of a losing streak at home until now.
“Brittany came here in 2004 and you know Brittany didn’t lose a game here until her junior year,” Coach Lori Duncan said. “That’s a contrast.”
However, with high hopes and a shared chemistry, they entered McBrayer Arena Saturday to turn that around.
With rainbow headbands and smiles on their faces, the Colonels made their loop around the court in McBrayer Arena Saturday, as they poised themselves to play UT-Martin and send Nobilio away with a win on senior night. Even Coach Duncan sported a matching multi-colored scarf for support.
“I knew from the beginning, the fact that they were all wearing headbands,” Duncan said, “how loose, how serious, yet focused on honoring her they were, I knew it was going to be OK. I knew they weren’t going to let her down.”
The Colonels lead all three games in the match, with the first two at 5-1 before the Skyhawks could score a second point.
Eastern advanced to 11-3 before the Skyhawks started making a comeback. Eastern stayed at 12, while UT closed the margin to four.
However, the Colonels pulled even stronger, increasing the lead to 10 at 21-11.
They trudged ahead to take the win at 30-21.
Game two was a repeat. Only this time, Eastern pushed to 8-1 before the Skyhawks earned a second point.
The Colonels had an 11-point lead over the Skyhawks at 15-4. A 10-point lead was maintained at 25-15, 27-17 and 29-19.
Eastern took game two at 30-20.
The celebration continued in game three for the Colonels.
However, this time, the Skyhawks stayed a little closer to the Colonels’ offense.
Not for long.
Eastern scored 15 points to the Skyhawks’ nine and kicked it in high gear, winning the match.
“I thought we were extremely aggressive with our serves today,” Duncan said after the game. “Eight service aces is as many probably as we’ve had in a game, in a match in a long time. I think they, as a team, played more relaxed and confident than I can remember them playing all year.”
Eastern played against its rival, Morehead State on Tuesday. Despite the Colonels’ loss in three, Nobilio earned 24 digs in the match.
However, just as the shirts worn by the Nobilio family on senior night said, “All good things must come to an end.”
Nobilio played her last match in McBrayer Arena as a Colonel volleyball player.
Eastern will play Samford tomorrow and Jacksonville State on Saturday.