THATCHER — The Eastern Arizona College Gila Monsters volleyball squad got the honor to open up official play at the newly remodeled Paul E. Guitteau Gymnasium and responded with a dominating winning performance.

Eastern defeated the Arizona Western Matadors, 25-11, 25-14, 25-14, last Friday night.

None of the three games were ever in question or contested by the visitors.

“I don’t even have the words,” EAC head coach Shari Kaye said. “It felt like we were home. It was a huge confidence builder.”

The “resurrection game” of the Paul E. Guitteau Gymnasium opening was the last of the 2019 season for the Gila Monster volleyball squad. EAC finished the season with a 15-14 record.

It was also Sophomore Night, and the outgoing team members were honored with introductions to the capacity crowd who stayed after the game to see the players get gifts, flowers and hugs.

Due to injuries, the Western squad lost four starting players in just over a week, and the Matadors were only able to dress seven.

“We’ve never been this short of players due to injury,” said Loyane Chandler, Matadors head coach.

Chandler added that she’s not optimistic about her team’s chances at beating Yavapai College for the conference championship.

“We’ve beaten them twice already this year,” Chandler said, “(but) I do not expect to have our players back for the game.”

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