EWU volleyball splits weekend matches for second week


Photo contributed by goeags.com

EWU volleyball members cheer on their team.

By Brandon Cline, Sports Editor

In the final half of four-straight road matches, the EWU volleyball squad split two weekend matches for the second-consecutive week, sitting now at 8-2 in conference play and atop the North Division in the Big Sky.

The Eagles came out flat in a straight-sets loss to the Idaho State Bengals on Oct. 22, who sit atop the South Division with a 9-1 record. EWU bounced back two days later on Oct. 24, dispatching the Weber State Wildcats in three sets.

Final Score: Idaho State University defeats Eastern Washington University, 25-15, 25-17, 25-16.

What It Means: The Eagles fell to 7-2 in conference play and dropped their second-consecutive match, something they had not done since losing three-straight matches from Sept. 10-12. The Bengals improved to 8-1 in Big Sky play and moved to 9-1 two days later after beating the University of Idaho.

Turning Point: The Eagles held an 11-10 lead in the first set, but the Bengals went on a 15-4 run to close out the set and maintained momentum throughout the final two sets of the match.

Key Statistics: The Eagles’ hit percentage in the match was just .053, compared to a .256 hit percentage for the Bengals. Senior Ana Jakovljevic led the Eagles in kills with seven, while redshirt senior Alexis Wesley had a team-high three blocks in the match. The Bengals’ Tressa Lyman had a match-high 12 kills.

What They Said: “Our group is still growing and developing. We need to learn how to play better on the road,” said head coach Michael King. “We didn’t make the finishing touch on the ball tonight on our blocking and it seemed our blocking was a slight step behind. We will keep getting better and I do believe our best volleyball is still ahead of us.”

Final Score: Eastern Washington University defeats Weber State University, 25-13, 25-20, 25-18.

What It Means: The Eagles improved to 8-2 in Big Sky play and are two games ahead of Idaho for first place in the North Division, with six conference matches remaining. The Wildcats dropped to 1-9 in the conference and sit in the cellar in the South Division.

Turning Point: After dropping the first set 13-25, the Wildcats played the Eagles tough in the second set, with the set tied at 19 apiece. The Eagles won 6 of the final 7 points in the set, going up two sets to none in the match and proving to be too much for Weber State.

Key Statistics: Senior Allie Schumacher recorded a match-high 10 kills, while redshirt senior Alexis Wesley and freshman Jessica Gilbert each added nine kills themselves. Gilbert also had five blocks in the match, and as a team the Eagles had a hitting percentage of .333 compared to the Wildcats’ .099.

What They Said: “I thought we handled the ball well tonight, and when we do that, it allows us to run our offense well,” said King. “Our middles attacked with aggression and intelligence and the few parts of our game we’ve been working on really clicked for us tonight.”