2023 Season Preview: Mountaineer Volleyball

LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University Volleyball returns to the court in 2023 following the most successful season in program history in 2022. After a historic year, Eastern will look to return to contention for a national championship.

“With returning a large part of our starters, I am excited for the 2023 season and I think we can still have high expectations and lofty goals. We understand that the Cascade Conference is one of the toughest and it is important to show up every night but we also know how much it will prepare us for the post season and the run in December that we can hopefully make.” Head Coach Kaki McLean-Morehead said.

The Mounties finished the 2022 season with their highest win total ever going 34-3 on their way to the program’s first ever NAIA Championship Semifinal appearance. Other notable milestones included the program’s first ever No. 1 national ranking, a CCC regular-season title, and a CCC tournament title.

An efficient offense and dominant defense at the net helped propel the Mounties to the top a year ago. Eastern will bring back several key pieces from 2022 while adding some new talent. This season will see the return of three All-CCC players in Kara Clayton (First Team), Hailey Arritola (Second Team) and Sade Williams (Honorable Mention). Clayton headlines the group as an NAIA All-Tournament team selection and one of the nation’s best defensive players at the net where she ranked eighth in the country in blocks per set.

EOU will have to find a way to replace two of the program’s best players from a year ago, Cambree Scott and Preslee Jensen. Scott, EOU’s all-time leader in blocks, added to an already impressive resume earning First Team All-American honors and being named the College Sports Communicators Academic All-American Team Member of the Year in the NAIA. Statistically, Scott was one of the best in the nation leading the country in blocks per set. Jensen also put together an incredible year leading the team in kills and earning NAIA Honorable Mention All-American recognition.

The answer to the question marks left by a talented, departing senior class may be in three newcomers in 2023. Notable additions include middle hitter Mylie Mills, outside hitter Emma Burlingame, and setter Sophie Fast. Fast and Mills will look to make an impact as freshmen while Burlingame brings some NCAA Division II experience as a transfer from Montana State University – Billings.

As for the schedule Eastern will play a full slate of 29 regular season matches. Once again the Mounties will kick off the season at the Big Sky Challenge in Butte, Montana with four matchups scheduled from August 17 and 18. Following the Montana trip, EOU will head for warmer weather with an appearance in the Magic Island Hawaii Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii where they will play three matches over August 25 and 26.

Conference play will kick off at home on September 1 when Eastern takes on Oregon Tech at 7 p.m. Fans can keep an eye on a couple of rematches with last year’s CCC runner-up and semi-final competitor Corban University. EOU will take on the Warriors on the road first on September 29 at 7 p.m., then Corban will visit Quinn Coliseum on Oct. 28 at 5 p.m. The regular season will wrap up with a November 4 matchup against Walla University in College Place, Washington.

The Cascade Collegiate Conference Championships will be held at the regular season champions home gym on November 10 and 11. For more schedule information click the link above.

For more updates on Mountie Volleyball and EOU Athletics visit eousports.com throughout the year and follow @EOUAthletics on all social media platforms.

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