Volleyball Eags look to end losing streak

Eagles achieved first winning streak since 2010

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Photo by Ron Swords for GoEags.com

By Elohino Theodore, Senior Reporter

At a current record of 4-9, five games under .500, the EWU volleyball team looks to find answers in the Big Sky Conference.

Associate head coach Michael King said the team has played highly during the season, so far. “I think we really played well at times,” King said.

“I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve been down games 0-2 and we have really fought back in games three, four and five really well,” King said.

Senior opposite hitter Kelsey Julian is optimistic about this season.

“We started off really strong down in South Carolina and North Carolina,” Julian said. “We have had some great times, we’ve also had some low moments. We’re still figuring things out.”

The EWU volleyball team started off their season in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Eagles would begin competing against multiple teams on the road in the Hilton Garden Inn Wilmington Mayfaire Classic.

Their first test was on Aug. 29 against Fairfield where they defeated the Stags, 3-1. Julian was among the top performers with 12 kills, two blocks and two digs while hitting .333 for the game.

Another notable performer was junior outside hitter Allie Schumacher. She helped out with six digs and two blocks while putting away nine kills.

On the same day, the Eagles won their second match, 3-2 against the high-level North Carolina State University team.

“They’re normally a top 50 team in the country,” King said. “I thought we played really, really well against them. We might be their only loss of the year.”

Eastern won in a dramatic fashion by forcing a fifth and final set and winning in the last moments of the game. Senior outside hitter Melissa Waelter earned a double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs. As a team, the Eagles recorded 11 blocks for the game.

The team would go on to lose their next two matches against Coastal Carolina, 3-1 and the University of North Carolina Wilmington, 3-0.

The Eagles went on another winning streak. On Sept. 2, Eastern defeated the College of Charleston, 3-2. Julian recorded a career high of 21 kills, Schumacher chipped in with 20 kills, while Waelter put up her second double-double of the season with 19 kills and 15 digs.

Julian views the non-conference games as a positive challenge for the team.

“It’s just a great test to see where we lack, where we’re doing great at, where we need to strive to,” Julian said.

Eastern’s next win would be on Sept. 5 against High Point University where they defeated the Panthers, 3-2. Julian and Schumacher had 14 kills each, while freshman setter Nicole Rigoni added 28 assists with seven digs.

After the wins in September, the Eagles lost their next four games against the University of Portland, the University of Missouri, Boise State University and Seattle University. They lost to Portland, 3-1, Missouri, 3-1, Boise State, 3-0 and Seattle, 3-2.

The Eagles traveled to San Diego, California where they faced California State University Northridge, University of San Diego and Stanford University.

On Sept. 18, EWU fell to California State University Northridge, 3-0 in their first game at the University of San Diego Invitational. The Eagles would go on to lose against San Diego and Stanford, 3-0.

“All these teams are very physical,” King said. “They have a lot of offensive weapons in a multitude of different areas.”

Eastern will play on the road against the University of North Dakota on Sept. 25.