Andrew Castellano
ASU Student Journalist

O'Connor Eagles' dominant front shines in victory

October 11, 2017 by Andrew Castellano, Arizona State University

The O’Connor Eagles defeated the Pinnacle Pioneers three sets to one, thanks to their aggressive front row.


Final scores for each set were: 25-17, 17-25, 25-17 and 25-16.


In the first set, the Eagles went on a 5-0 run to start the game. The run was led by their captain, Jordan Mineer. “I think I’m just a competitive player, so naturally my presence on the court makes me want to win fast and efficiently as possible. That starts to rub off other on the other girls,” said Mineer.


During that same set, the Pinnacle Pioneers started to chip away at their deficit and slowly started to come back. Eagles coach Kyle Brainard quickly made an adjustment that the Pioneers had trouble with.


The Eagles were intentionally faking a forward pass towards the middle. Instead, the setter passed the ball behind her, feeding it their captain Minneer. The Pioneers were unable to adjust which lead to an Eagles run of 9-2.


“We have a big 6-2 attacker (Mineer) on the back side, we definitely utilized her while she’s on the court,” said Brainard. “Part of the strategy there is just knowing the matchups, she matches up physically more than most girls.”


“The purpose of that setup is to make the other blockers move, it’s called reversing the flow,” said Mineer. “It usually leaves a big hole. It makes it easier to attack and convert to points.”


In the second set, both teams were going back and forth resulting in a 5-5- tie to start the set. Pinnacle coach Katelynn Paine said to her team in the second set, “It is all about heart, passion, love for the game and fighting for every single point, one point at a time.”


As a result, the Pioneers responded quickly as they went on an 8-2 run and won the set 25-17. The Pioneers' excellent game play was led by their captain and Bryant University commit Jenna Knight. “Everything is for the girl next to you. You play as a team and you work hard for every point. It’s the hustle plays that carry your momentum,” said Knight.


The Pioneers scored three points off Knight’s serves and Knight converted 66 percent of her kills.


“We talked about having a sense of urgency and not having compliances after our first set. I reminded the girls the amount of work and effort it takes night in and night out, set in and set out, said Brainard. “In the second set we had a little ‘lull’ and had to continue to push.”


Both teams had an opportunity to take lead in the third set, but Eagles player Kelli Agnew scored six of her 15 kills in the third set.


The Pioneers were unable to get over the hump and only converted eight of their 35 kill attempts in their third set. The Eagles won the third set 25-17.


In the fourth and final set, The Pioneers only converted 20 percen of their kills which allow the Eagles to close out the game 25-16.


The Eagles improve their record to 26-10.