Wednesday night was a true homecoming for the Eastern Arizona College Gila Monster Volleyball team.

They finally returned to play a home game after more than three weeks on the road. Several games this season had to be canceled due to COVID-19 issues arising with opposing teams.

The homecoming was a little bitter sweet. Although the Monsters were welcomed home by a big crowd of fans and a full student section, EAC lost in three sets to Yavapai 19-25, 22-25 and in a final, “edge of your seat” 30-28 thriller.

The loss moves Eastern to 9-15 overall and 5-7 in conference play.

In set one Yavapai got out to a 12-5 lead, at which point coach Shari Kay called for a time out. Following the time out EAC went on a 6-2 scoring run to cut the gap to 11-14. The Roughriders of Yavapai countered by steadily pulling away, getting a 21-15 lead over the Monsters. Eastern cut the gap to 19-21 and now it was time for Yavapai Coach Zackary Shaver to call for time-out. YCC score the four points needed to win, 25-19.

The Roughriders began the second set with an early 6-3 margin, but EAC managed to knot things up a 7-7, the first of six tied scores in the set.

At 11-10 the Monsters took their first lead of the contest and at 13-11 YCC called for a time-out. The time out did not slow the Monsters down any, as they built an 18-15 advantage and continued to keep the Roughriders at bay. Yavapai was able to tie things up at 21 points each, and they were able to pull away from EAC 4-1 to reach 25-22 and claim set number two.

EAC and YCC went point-for-point to start the third set, with Eastern taking a an 8-5 lead. The Roughriders stopped the clock, after which the tied the score at 8-8.

At 13-13 Yavapai started to pull away getting up 18-14. Coach Kay called for her time-out and the Monsters responded by tying things up at 20-20. There would be six more knotted scores down the stretch, final tie at 28 each. Yavapai would manage to get the final two points necessary for the win, 30-28.

The Region 1 Championship begins on Nov.3 and the District Championship is scheduled for Nov. 9.

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