EWU volleyball’s descent continues with pair of home losses

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By Jeremy Burnham, Staff Reporter

The EWU women’s volleyball team dropped two games against Big Sky Conference teams this week. On Thursday, Oct. 19, the Eagles got swept by Portland State University. The Eagles played much better on Saturday, Oct. 21, as they welcomed undefeated Sacramento State University to Reese Court, but still fell to the Mustangs in five sets. They are now 3-7 in BSC play.

PSU entered the match on Thursday in second place in the southern division of the BSC. The Eagles stayed with the Vikings for the early part of the first set. But when PSU pulled away, they pulled away for good. They took the first set 25-22, and dominated the next two sets. Overall, EWU committed 22 errors compared to 12 for PSU. The Vikings capitalized on the Eagles’ mistakes, and took both the second and third sets 25-14.

EWU’s leading scorer Ashley Seiler returned to action after missing the previous game, but left the game early. She had two kills in the first set and a half before exiting the game. Megan LaFond, who often plays libero, played as a hitter for the second straight game and led the Eagles with eight  kills.

Saturday’s match against Sacramento State  was a more competitive contest. Coming into the match, the Mustangs were undefeated in BSC play, but the Eagles came ready to play.

Midway through the first set, EWU was able to go on a run, which they turned into a 23-16 first set lead.  The Mustangs, however, weren’t ready to concede the set quite yet. Sac State went on a 8-0 run to tie the set at 23. The Eagles were finally able to win the set 26-24.

The momentum from the Mustang’s comeback followed them into the second set. The Eagles returned to their past tendency to fall behind early in sets, as Sac State opened the second set with a 6-1 lead.

While the Eagles would fight back and take a 8-7 lead, clean play by the Mustangs carried them to a 25-20 second set victory as errors plagued the Eagles once again.

Yet another slow start—and more errors—put the Eagles in a hole in the fourth set. While EWU made a push near the end of the set, Sac State was able to hold on for a 25-21 victory.

Senior Ashley Seiler spikes the ball on Oct. 21. EWU dropped both of their matches over the weekend | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

Things got interesting in the fifth set. With their backs against the wall, EWU battled throughout, however errors continued to hurt the Eagles. They  were leading 21-18 when they committed three errors in a row, allowing Sac State to tie the set. The Eagles, however, refused to give up. They fought off three match points, and won the set 30-28.

For the Mustangs, this was only the second time all season that a BSC team was able to take them to a fifth set. Six of their nine conference wins had been straight-set victories until this weekend. Sac State was able to gather themselves in the final set, and opened up a 14-10 lead. The fifth set in volleyball is only at 15 points, so EWU once again faced match point. They scored once to make it 14-11, but then Seiler served the ball into the net.

The Eagles finished with 28 errors (compared to 14 for Sac State), including 13 while serving. Seiler led EWU with 23 kills, but had six of the service errors.

The two losses drop EWU to No. 5 in the BSC north. The top four teams in the division will make the postseason. EWU’s next game is on Thursday, Oct. 26 at Weber State University.