Eastern Washington plays host to Montana State on Saturday evening
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team got its 2009 Big Sky Conference season off to a resounding start, defeating Montana 25-20, 25-20, 16-25, 25-13 on Friday evening (Sept. 18). An enthusiastic crowd of 1,311 watched the match, Eastern's largest in three years.
Chenoa Coviare had an impressive offensive showing tonight, hitting at a .310 clip (13-4-29). Hayley Hills also had impressive offensive numbers, tallying 12 kills in the contest. Ashley Hamilton had the majority of the setting duties, and she had 37 assists.
Three players contributed double-digit dig totals, including JaNae Mortensen (12), Hills (11) and Amanda Yausie (11). Both Alysha Cook and Sara Todorovich contributed six blocks apiece.
Tonight's win was a scrappy one for the Eagles, as the team hit just .126 in the contest (48-29-151). Eastern did, however, hold Montana to a .115 hitting percentage (39-25-122).
"We did not play that well tonight," head coach Miles Kydd said. "We were scrappy, but we got a win out of it. We have a quick turnaround (before playing again), so we cannot dwell on it."
Eastern had much of the control of the first set. The Eagles pulled away from a narrow 17-15 advantage with a 6-1 run to go up 23-16 on its way to a 25-20 win. In the second set, however, Eastern would rally from a 15-11 deficit to go on a 9-2 run and take a 20-17 advantage before prevailing 25-20.
Montana controlled the third set throughout, riding a 17-10 advantage to a 25-16 win. Conversely, the Eagles dominated most of the fourth set, extending a 10-9 advantage to 21-11 and winning 25-13.
"We got on a run (in the fourth set) because we stopped making so many unforced errors and put pressure on them," Kydd said.
The Eagles faithful turned out in high numbers tonight, as the attendance of 1,311 was the largest at Reese Court since 1,332 rooted on the Eagles against Montana on Nov. 11, 2006. Tonight's contest was the first of a long home slate that will end with the Big Sky Championship, to be played Nov. 27-28.
The Eagles next play host to Montana State, who dropped its Big Sky opener at Portland State tonight, 25-19, 25-14, 25-13. The Bobcats are 2-8 overall.