TROY – At exactly 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the Civic Memorial Eagles had reason to celebrate.
The Eagles put an end to a 32-match losing streak in Mississippi Valley Conference play by defeating the Triad Knights 25-20, 25-17 in a league road match. It’s CM’s first win in conference play since Oct. 18, 2012 and the first MVC victory in Amanda Biggs’ four-year career as CM head coach.
“Finally is all I can say,” Biggs said. “It’s hard to believe that’s actually how long that’s taken us (to get a conference win). With the talent that we do have and the work that the girls put in, they earned it tonight and I’m really proud of them.”
The Eagles improved to 11-8-1 overall and 1-2 in conference play. CM has nine matches and the Jersey Tournament left on its regular season schedule.
“Communication is one of our big things that we need to work on,” CM senior Sydney Marshall said. “Once we all start communicating, talking and covering our blocks, we’ll be a great team by the end of the season.”
The Knights, who beat the Eagles twice in three games last year, dropped to 3-8 and 0-3 in conference play. They are tied with Jersey for last place in the six-team league standings.
CM was coming off a second-place finish at the Granite City Fall Classic on Saturday, going 2-1-1.
“I’m really proud of our results from the weekend and it was a great experience and great momentum to carry us into another week of conference matches,” Biggs said.
Senior Annika Ochs, who earned all-tournament honors at the Granite City tournament on Saturday, had 15 digs and senior Cara Melton finished with 12 digs. Marshall finished with 17 assists, senior Kennedy Carnes had seven kills and nine service points, senior Kaity Kappler had five kills and two blocks and senior Jenna Parmentier had three aces.
The Eagles stormed to a 10-3 lead in the first game. With the game tied at 3-3, Carnes served seven straight points.
Triad rallied to get within 20-18, but that’s as close as it would get.
“We were really executing and perfecting everything, like our passes,” Marshall said. “We were getting them to the target.”
CM never trailed in the second game. The Eagles took a 4-0 lead after Kappler served three straight points.
Later in the game, Parmentier – a transfer from Staunton and the daughter of CM football coach Mike Parmentier -- served three straight points, including two aces, to boost the Eagles’ lead to 14-7.
“Jenna is a great addition,” Biggs said. “She’s positive. She’s constantly working hard. Her serving game is something that we’ve been definitely missing. It’s a really great addition and she brings a whole level of energy and commitment to that defense that we really needed.”
With CM leading 24-17 on Triad’s serve, Kappler pounded out a kill to end the game, the match and the long conference streak that began on Sept. 17, 2013, when the Eagles lost to Highland in two games.
“Three years is a long time, but we put in a lot of work this off-season and in-season and it paid off,” Marshall said.
Civic Memorial finished 0-10 in MVC play in each of the last three seasons. The Eagles started their 2016 league season with losses to Highland and Waterloo.
During their 32-game MVC losing streak, the Eagles lost six of those matches in three games.
“The conference is very strong,” Biggs said. “It’s heavily loaded with great talent and we’re a contender in there.”
Now, CM is looking to win its second straight conference match on Thursday, when it plays Mascoutah at home.
“More wins,” Biggs said. “That’s all we want.”