Eagles volleyball drops to second in North Division


Photo by Karissa Berg

Eagles volleyball team celebrates.

By TJ Moulton, Contributing Writer

After three straight weeks of splitting matches, EWU volleyball stumbled through a pair, losing in three sets to Northern Arizona University on Nov. 5 and University of Idaho in four sets on Nov. 7.

The back-to-back losses dropped the Eagles to 9-5 in conference play and 14-11 overall, with two conference matches remaining before the Big Sky Tournament. Eastern will visit University of Northern Colorado and University of North Dakota next week to round out conference play.

Despite losing five out of their last seven matches, the Eagles sit in second place in the North division, trailing the University of Idaho, and have already clinched a spot in the Big Sky Tournament.

Final Score: Northern Arizona University defeats Eastern Washington University, 25-22, 25-20, 25-21.

What It Means: The Eagles fall to 9-4 in conference play and 14-10 overall. With the win, the Lumberjacks improve to 12-1 in Big Sky play, while staying firmly atop the South division with a 22-4 overall record.

Turning Point: The Eagles battled back and forth with the class of the Big Sky conference in each set, seeing 23 ties and eight lead changes, but could never finish off the Lumberjacks. After the Eagles took a 17-16 lead in set three, Northern Arizona went on a tear, scoring on eight of the next 11 points to take a 24-20 lead – the Lumberjacks went on to finish the Eagles 25-21.

Key Statistics: The Lumberjacks out-hit the Eagles as a team .316% to .250% and were out-blocked seven to three. The Eagles were led by middle blocker Alexis Wesley with nine kills, middle blocker and right side hitter Chloe Weber with three blocks, and defensive specialist and libero Ryann Ensrud with 20 digs.

Final Score: EWU falls to University of Idaho, 12-25, 21-25, 25-20, 21-25.

What It Means: Eastern remains in second place in the North division after back-to-back losses drop the Eagles to 9-5 in Big Sky play, 14-11 overall. The win bumps the first place Vandals to 10-4 in conference, 13-13 overall.

Turning Point: After cruising through the first set, Idaho and Eastern were locked at 19-19 when the Vandals went on a five-point run to take a 24-19 lead. Eastern would respond with two points of their own, but the rally fell short as Idaho went on to win the second set 25-21.

Key Statistics: Outside hitter and defensive specialist Jessica Gilbert led the Eagles in kills with 17, setting a new career-high in the process. Middle blocker Haile Watson and middle blocker and right side hitter Chloe Weber teamed up to lead the team in blocks, with three apiece.