Riding a 7 match losing streak into their match on Wednesday versus the Dolphins of Staten Island, CSE was looking to build on the team's competitive performances versus Lancaster Bible and PS Abington earlier this week as they looked to get back to the winning column for the first time in 2 weeks. The Eagles relied on their blocking and good team defense to overcome a game Dolphin squad in a 25-21, 25-15, 21-25, 25-18 victory to improve their record to 9W-14L.
The first set was a back and forth affair with both teams playing error filled ball that prevented a run by either team. With the score 10-10, the Eagles found themselves in a tight set due to 7 errors on their part at that juncture, including 4 service errors. The Eagles trailed late 19-20 as another service error put them in jeopardy but an attack error from CSI followed by kills by Subhana Wrights and Kareemah Muhammad and an ace by Nicole Morera gave the Eagles the cushion they needed at 23-20 and they closed out the set 25-21. The Eagles had a balanced attack with 6 players contributing to the team's 8 kills but the 25 digs defensively held the team in the set as the squad mustered only 3 aces to 6 errors.
In set 2, CSE erupted with 13 kills and only 2 errors for a .407 hitting %. CSI had no answer to the Eagle attack as CSE jumped out to an 11-5 lead behind a Katie Cooper kill and extended the lead to 17-12 after a Muhammad kill. Another Cooper kill gave the Eagles a 21-14 lead late in the match and the team never looked back as setter Cheyenne Grant dished out an assist to Ireyah Stevens and put down a kill herself for the 25-15 set victory. Wrights, Muhammad and Kiana Cunningham had 5 kills apiece to lead a balanced attack. Although the team could not generate any aces, the squad served 88% for the set, a drastic improvement from the 75% from the 1st set. Wrights was also active defensively at the net, scoring 2 blocks in the set.
The 3rd set saw the errors finally catch up to the Eagles. After a middle attack error early on pulled the Eagles to within 1 at 8-9, 2 blocks by CSI and 2 free ball errors by the Eagles aided the Dolphins in building a 14-10 lead. After a block by Muhammad and Wrights, a kill by Cunningham and an ace by Morera had CSE up by 1 at 15-14, another hitting error off a free ball gave CSI the ball back knotted at 15 to stop the Eagles' momentum. After a Cooper kill and a Cunningham kill had the Eagles within 1 again at 17-18, 2 attack errors by CSE and a kill by the Dolphins pushed the lead yet again to 4 at 17-21. Another Cooper kill temporarily stalled the Dolphin drive and after another Cunningham kill and Grant kill, the Eagles were yet again within 1 at 21-22. But another service error by the Eagles killed the drive and the Dolphins blocked an Eagle attack to close out the 3rd set 25-21. CSE hit for only 8 kills and had 11 errors in the set despite generating the most attempts (43) out of any of the 3 sets. CSE had 4 aces but tallied another 3 errors for a serving % of 86% for the set.
Knowing they had been down this road before in recent matches, the Eagles buckled down and got aggressive on the serve and blocking, generating 5 aces and 5 blocks (3 by Wrights) to lead CSE to a comfortable late set victory.
CSE trailed early 7-10 but 2 hitting errors by the Dolphins, an ace by Katie Cooper and 2 blocks by Wrights, 1 of which was assisted by Morera, had the Eagles on top 12-11. Kills by Cunningham and Ireyah Stevens followed by 2 aces by Muhammad had the Eagles celebrating early as the lead grew to 21-16. An Ayesha Brannon ace and a Morera kill followed to put the Eagles on the doorstep of a victory at 24-18 and CSE finished it off with what had been the difference maker in the match with another block by Wrights assisted by Morera. Although the team only served at 84% for the set, the squad hit for 5 aces (20%) with 2 apiece by Muhammad and Cooper.
Cooper anchored a solid defense that dug up 69 balls with a team leading 22 while also chipping in 3 aces and 5 kills. Muhammad tallied 6 kills and had a team leading 5 aces with only 1 error while also jumping in with 1 block. Grant led a balanced offense with 26 assists while adding 3 kills and 9 digs to the cause. Morera chipped in 3 kills, 3 aces, 2 blocks and 13 digs in the win while teammate Cunningham had a match best 11 kills and a .226 hitting % and also added 7 digs. Wrights hit for 6 kills but was absolutely dominant at the net with a match high 6 blocks on the night.