After facing Lumberjacks, Eastern Washington takes on N. Colorado in battle of 2 teams currently in 3-way tie for 1st
After finishing up a 3-1 home stand, the Eastern Washington University volleyball team heads back on the road, playing Northern Arizona at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 15) and Northern Colorado at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday (Oct. 17). The Eagles, UNC and Portland State enter the week tied for first with 5-1 Big Sky Conference marks.
In addition to live broadcasts on www.bigskytv.org, which are free and allow fans to watch live video streaming of all contests hosted by Big Sky teams, Eastern's match with Northern Arizona will be broadcast live on NAU's Universityhouse channel (Dish network 9411) as well as tape delayed on that channel at 10:30 that evening, 8 a.m. on Friday (Oct. 16) and 10 a.m. on Sunday (Oct. 18). It will also be shown on FSN Arizona (DirecTV channel 686, Dish channel 415) at 7 p.m. on Monday (Oct. 19).
Most recently, Portland State snapped Eastern's seven-match winning streak with a 3-1 win in Cheney on Friday (Oct. 9) to help create the three-way tie for the league's top spot. Three days previously, EWU knocked off local rival Gonzaga in non-conference action 3-1.
In the PSU match, Hayley Hills moved into second place in the EWU record book for career kills. She now has 1,276. It appears she will finish her career in that placing, as the school record is 1,860, held by Kim Exner (1995-98).
Northern Arizona is off to a 5-10 start this season, 2-4 in Big Sky matches, placing the Lumberjacks seventh in the league standings. NAU snapped a three-match losing streak with a 3-0 sweep at Montana State on Saturday (Oct. 10). Last year when the teams met, Eastern won in four at home, while NAU took a 3-1 decision in Flagstaff.
Northern Colorado has had an outstanding season up to this point, as the Bears are 11-8 to go with their 5-1 league mark. They have a significant home stand this weekend, as UNC will play host to the two teams it is tied for first with on Thursday and Saturday.
The Bears suffered a 3-1 setback at Montana on Saturday in their last outing. Previously, Northern Colorado has also had a number of significant non-conference wins in 2009, including a 3-0 sweep of Colorado, a 3-1 win at Iowa and playing Colorado State down to the wire in Fort Collins before falling in five.
A year ago, the Bears swept Eastern Washington in Greeley, while the Eagles returned the favor with a 3-0 win in Cheney.
Hills Moves into Second on Career Kills List
Senior outside hitter Hayley Hills has climbed into the second spot on Eastern Washington's career kills list, as she now has 1,276. Her total now only trails the school record of 1,860, set by Kim Exner (1995-98).
Hills is also currently second in school history in kills per set, embedded into that slot with a 3.90 average. Holding the record is Exner (4.43), while in third is Juli Argotow (3.42).
Hills earned her 1,000th kill in a 3-1 win at Sacramento State on Nov. 21 of last year. That gained her entry to the 1,000-kill club, becoming the eighth Eagle in history to reach that pinnacle.
Following her impressive performance in wins over Montana and Montana State on Sept. 18 and 19, respectively, Hills was named the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week.
Those two matches, she averaged 4.71 kills and 3.14 digs per set in helping the Eagles to 3-1 and 3-0 respective wins over the Grizzlies and Bobcats.
Big Sky Championship in Cheney
After claiming the Big Sky Conference's regular-season title in 2008, the Eagles earned the right to play host to the 2009 Tournament.
The semifinals will take place at 5 and 7 p.m. on Nov. 27, while the title contest will take place at 7 the following evening.
The winner of that match will earn the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, which starts the following weekend.
Petroni Rides 33-Dig Performance to POW Honors
After tallying 57 career digs leading into the final week of September, sophomore libero Lindsey Petroni nearly doubled that total with 47 in two matches in helping the Eagles to 3-1 wins over Idaho and Sacramento State on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, respectively.
She was then rewarded for her outstanding performances with Big Sky Conference Co-Player of the Week accolades. In doing so, Petroni became the first defensive-focused player in Eastern Washington history to ever earn the award.
Most notably, she tallied 33 digs in the Idaho contest, a total that tied for the seventh-highest total in school history. In fact, it tied for the second-most in school annals in a match less than five sets long. That feat earned her the 17th spot in Eastern's 30-dig club.
Her dig total in that match is also tied for the fifth-most by any NCAA Division I player this year in a contest four sets or fewer (most recent national statistics are through matches played on Sept. 28). It is also the most by any Big Sky player so far in 2009 in a match that did not go the maximum five sets and just one off the highest five-set sum.
The Spokane, Wash., native then followed that up with a solid 14-dig performance in the Big Sky win over the Hornets two days later. For the week, Petroni averaged 5.88 digs per set. She also contributed seven assists and two service aces in the two matches.
Incredibly, every single one of her 57 career digs leading into the UI match had come away from home.
Petroni shared this week's award with Idaho State's Emily Waldron, who had a pair of double-doubles in helping the Bengals to a 2-0 road trip.
Hamilton Named Big Sky Player of the Week
Senior setter Ashley Hamilton was an all-around offensive force in helping the Eagles to a pair of road victories from Sept. 25-26.
She helped lead the team to its best hitting percentage of the season (and second-best by any Big Sky team so far in 2009), .390, in a 3-0 sweep of Weber State after setting the team to a dramatic comeback from 2-0 down at Idaho State in a 3-2 win.
Individually, the Alpine, Utah, native averaged 12.25 assists per set, but also was an intimidating offensive threat herself, as she hit at a .600 clip in the two road matches (14-2-20). Defensively, she was solid, averaging 2.50 digs and 0.62 blocks per set in the two contests.
In the five-set win in Pocatello, Hamilton had 55 assists, her highest total of the season and the eighth-highest total by a Big Sky player in 2009. Hamilton hit .500 (8-2-12) that night. She also did the job defensively, as her 14 digs that night was a career high for the setter.
Hamilton had 43 assists in the sweep of the Wildcats, which is a very impressive number for a match just three sets long. It actually comes out to a higher assists-per-set ratio then she achieved the night before (14.33 versus 11.00). She also hit at a .750 clip (6-0-8) in that WSU match.
The award is the first for Hamilton.
Eagles Rank Nationally in Average Attendance
The Eastern Washington Eagles have earned the attention of the greater Spokane area and it has shown, as the team is averaging 956 fans per contest, an average that ranks the squad 43rd in the country.
EWU ranks 10th among all West Coast teams (i.e. those located within the Pacific Time Zone).
The highlight of the home schedule came on Oct. 9 when 1,440 saw the Eagles take on Portland State in a first-versus-second battle. That crowd was the largest for a home contest since Sept. 23, 2006, when 1,484 saw Eastern take on Northern Colorado.
The Eagles have ranked in the top 40 in attendance in 11 of the past 12 years.
Eastern Washington has won 14-of-15 contests at Reese Court.
Comeback From 2-0 Down
The Eastern Washington Eagles went into the locker rooms in their match at Idaho State on Sept. 25 down 25-17, 25-21, but rallied to complete an impressive 3-2 victory with 25-21, 25-17, 15-13 set victories.
The rally from 2-0 down was the first for head coach Miles Kydd since he took over the Eagles at the beginning of the 2008 campaign and was the initial one for the EWU program since a 25-30, 23-30, 30-18, 30-19, 15-10 victory over Colgate on Aug. 31, 2007.
Busy First Month for Eagles
The Eastern Washington Eagles played some pretty impressive competition the first three weeks of the season, including three teams currently ranked in the top 25, each on its home courts.
To conclude the pre-conference portion of the schedule, the Eagles played well in a trip to the Bay Area with its two defeats coming to a pair of teams who are either nationally ranked or receiving votes for the top-25 poll.
Following a couple tight sets in a 25-13, 25-23, 29-27 road loss to Saint Mary's, who is now 12-3 and receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll, the Eagles rallied to beat San Jose State 21-25, 25-22, 26-24, 25-20.
Eastern then took 19-12 and 18-12 leads in the first and third sets, respectively, before falling on the road to California, currently ranked 14th, by 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 scores.
The previous weekend, EWU defeated opponents from Conference USA (Houston) and the Western Athletic Conference (Nevada) by 3-1 scores before battling No. 18 Arizona, the host of the Marriott University Park Wildcat Classic, in an exciting four-set affair the undefeated Wildcats took 3-1.
The Eagles opened their season on Aug. 28 with a 3-1 defeat of Missouri State. The Bears had played in the 2008 NCAA Tournament and are receiving top-25 votes, as well. Eastern's two losses that weekend came to teams that played in the 2008 NCAAs, No. 15 Oregon and San Francisco.
Coviare Named to All-Oregon Classic Team
Chenoa Coviare had an outstanding opening weekend for the Eagles and was rewarded for her efforts with All-Oregon Classic accolades.
In the three matches played from Aug. 28-29, she hit .365 (25-6-52) and contributed 1.20 blocks and 0.70 digs per set.
Coviare helped Eastern to a 3-1 win over Missouri State and tough-fought losses to No. 11 Oregon and San Francisco.
Coviare and Hamilton Named All-Tourney
For the second weekend in a row, Chenoa Coviare was named to an all-tournament team, this time at the Marriott University Park Wildcat Classic. She was joined on the squad by Ashley Hamilton.
Coviare had 2.25 kills and 0.83 blocks per set in Eastern's three matches at the tournament.
Arizona transfer Hamilton played well in her old stomping grounds, averaging 6.58 assists per set and hitting at a .296 clip (12-4-27).
The talented duo helped the Eagles to an impressive 2-1 showing at the tournament, which included 3-1 wins over Houston and Nevada and a good showing in a 3-1 loss to host Arizona.
Coviare and Hills Earn Tourney Honors
After helping the Eagles to a second-place showing at the Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic, Chenoa Coviare and Hayley Hills earned All-Tournament honors.
In the two matches, a 3-1 win over San Jose State and a 3-0 loss to host and 13th-ranked California, Coviare hit at a .343 clip (19-7-35) to go with 1.43 blocks per set.
Hills had a team-high 3.00 kills per set. She also contributed 2.14 digs and 0.29 blocks per set.
Against SJSU, Coviare had 12 kills and hit .455 (14-4-22), while Hills contributed 14 digs.
Versus the Golden Bears, Hills tallied 13 kills and hit .290 (13-4-31), while Coviare had three blocks.
Eagles Beat 2008 NCAA Participant
The Eagles started off their 2009 campaign on a high note, outlasting Missouri State 25-22, 25-20, 17-25, 25-21 at the Oregon Classic on Aug. 28.
The win was especially impressive, as the Bears played in the 2008 NCAA Tournament and are receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll.
Eastern Washington controlled the first two sets and then had to battle back from significant deficits in the third and fourth sets.
The Eagles did so successfully in set four, rallying from 5-0 and 10-3 deficits and then pulling away from a 21-21 tie with the final four points of the contest.