EWU volleyball snaps eight game losing streak with home win on Senior Night


(Left to right) Head coach Michael King poses with seniors Megan LaFond, Ashley Seiler and Chloe Weber on Senior Night. The trio went out with a victory over the University of Northern Colorado on Nov. 3 | Mckenzie Ford for The Easterner

By Jeremy Burnham, Reporter

EWU volleyball finished the home portion of their season on a positive note on Friday, Nov. 3. EWU defeated the University of Northern Colorado in five sets on Senior Night.

Before the game, the Eagles honored their three seniors: Ashley Seiler, Chloe Weber, and Megan LaFond. Seiler, a native of Cheney, leaves EWU as its all-time leader in kills. She also leads the Big Sky Conference in kills per set this season.

EWU head coach Michael King enjoyed the energy that Senior Night brought to the game.

“I want to thank our seniors and their parents tonight for coming out and supporting us all year,” said King. “I thought the crowd was fantastic and we played to their energy level. I was impressed with our band, Code Red, tonight. They were in to every point and every play.”

EWU had lost its last eight matches prior to this one, including a 3-0 straight-set loss to the University of North Dakota on Thursday. They had also dropped ten straight sets, with their last set victory coming against Sacramento State University on Oct. 21. They had not won a match since beating Northern Arizona on the road on Oct. 5.

It did not take EWU very long to start breaking slumps on Friday, as they led the first set from the start. Opening sets slow had been a trademark of the Eagles play during their recent decline. They reversed the trend in this set by jumping out to a 7-1 lead. They got excellent play from all three of their seniors. Seiler had four kills, including the set winner.

And just like that, the lost set streak had come to an end.

Senior Megan LaFond goes up for a block as teammates look on. EWU won against University of Northern Colorado on Nov. 3 | Mckenzie Ford for The Easterner

In the second frame, the Eagles took a step backwards. They went back to their habit of falling behind early, as they allowed UNC to open up a 8-2 lead. It was a start they were unable to recover from, and the Bears won the second set 25-16.

It looked like it was going to be more of the same early on in the third set. The Bears jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and the Eagles looked sloppy. However, this time they would bounce back. The Eagles clawed to take a 6-5 lead, and the set went back-and-forth until the end.

EWU went up 24-22 to earn their first set point of the set, however UNC then scored three straight to go up 25-24. After an EWU timeout, UNC wasted their first set point by serving the ball into the net. Seiler killed the next point, giving EWU their second set point of the match.

Unfortunately, Seiler then had her own service error into the net, and it was tied again at 26. UNC went up 27-26 on a service ace by freshman outside hitter Taylor Muff. With their second chance to close out the set, Muff stepped up to serve again.

This next point was one of the best volleys of the match. EWU was able to handle Muff’s serve this time, and Seiler attempted a kill. The attempt was saved, but all NCU could do was lob the ball back to EWU. The Eagles tried to catch NCU off guard by sending it right back to them on the second touch, but UNC was ready. They were able to use all three touches to set up a kill attempt, but EWU junior middle blocker Taylor Larsen blocked it, and the ball fell on UNC’s side. The set was tied at 27.

At this point, seven points had passed since the first set point, but this one wasn’t even close to over. Each time a team would take the lead and earn a set point, the other would respond. Play would continue like this, with each team failing to convert several set points. Finally, the Bears went up 35-34 with a kill by senior middle blocker Alex Kloehn. This was UNC’s sixth set point of the set. Muff stepped up to serve, and pulled off her second service ace of the set. UNC won the set 36-34.

The Eagles found themselves in familiar territory with their backs against the wall. However, this time, they didn’t back down. They opened up a 5-1 lead in the fourth set, and rode it to victory. Seiler had a devastating kill that put the Eagles up 24-18. Then an attack error by the Bears on the next point gave the set to the Eagles.

The Eagles had found momentum, and they would not give it up. At one point they trailed 3-2 in the fifth set, but that was the only lead UNC would manage. EWU would tie it at three, and then take the lead for good. LaFond, Seiler and Weber all had kills after that to help lead the Eagles to a 15-9 fifth-set victory.

Seiler had 19 kills and 16 digs in her final home game as an Eagle. LaFond went out with 19 kills and 23 digs, while Weber added nine kills in her farewell game.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our team, said King. “They came out and fought every point and every play. That’s the kind of energy we have been looking for. We’ve found it at points throughout the season, but we haven’t brought it every night. We brought it tonight, and I couldn’t be happier for them.”

The Eagles improved to 4-10 in conference play. They wrap up their season next week with a pair of road games as they take on Montana State on Nov. 9, and Montana on Nov. 11. Both games are at 6 p.m.