After winning the Appalachian Athletic Conference for the second year in a row and advancing to the NAIA championships for the second time, Reinhardt was eliminated from contention Wednesday afternoon.
The No. 24 Lady Eagles lost 25-18, 25-14, 25-16 to No. 7 Eastern Oregon in their second match of pool play Sioux City, Iowa, one day after losing to No. 10 Lindsey Wilson in five sets.
Lindsey Wilson’s defeat of Madonna on Wednesday officially eliminated Reinhardt from advancing to the round of 16.
“Today was probably the toughest loss I’ve ever had to be honest,” Reinhardt coach Brian Goodhind said. “We went five sets yesterday with the No. 10 team in the country and then, today, just from the jump, we didn’t have any energy. I put that on myself.”
Wednesday’s match was tight to begin, with Reinhardt (33-4) trailing 18-16 in the opening set. Eastern Oregon responded with a 7-2 run to close out the set and take the momentum, which the Lady Eagles was never able to regain.
Wednesday’s loss was the first time the Lady Eagles had lost back-to-back matches all season long, and only the second time the team had failed to win at least one set.
Savanna Davis led Reinhardt with seven kills, while Erinn Marroquin recorded a team-high 17 digs. Carlee Baxter finished with a team-high 13 assists, and Shelby Glawson added three blocks.
“We had our worst offensive performance that we’ve had since I’ve been at Reinhardt,” Goodhind said. “It’s hard to get into an offensive flow when your ball control isn’t good. Our energy just wasn’t as high as it had been leading into this tournament, and I wish I could tell you why. And that’s not to take anything away from Eastern Oregon, because they had a big part to why we didn’t win today.”
Reinhardt will close its season with its final match of pool play Thursday against Madonna.
“Tomorrow the only motivation is the play for the seniors,” Goodhind said. “We have some amazing seniors and to play for them is what we’ll try to do tomorrow. I think the moment got a little big for a few of the players today.
“I really do believe we’re a top-20 team, but we have to play more top-25 teams during the season. We will be playing a few more tournaments next year with more top-level competition. That is a big goal for next year, and a huge mission for us is to make sure we’re playing more top-25 teams.”