Eagles Rally, Fall to NAU 3-2
Coviare has 12 blocks in the match, the most by an Eagle in seven years
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team trailed at Northern Arizona on Thursday evening (Oct. 15) by a 2-0 score before battling back to force a fifth set. Unfortunately for the Eagles, NAU pulled away from a 12-12 tie in that deciding stanza to prevail, 25-23, 25-12, 19-25, 26-28, 15-12.
The loss dropped the Eagles (11-7) into a second-place tie in the Big Sky Conference standings at 5-2 with Portland State. Next up on Saturday (Oct. 17) is Northern Colorado, who knocked off PSU 3-1 tonight to take over the top spot at 6-1.
One of Eastern's highlights on a disappointing night for the Eagles was Chenoa Coviare, who had 12 blocks, the most by an Eastern player since Keva Sonderen had that total versus Weber State on Nov. 9, 2002. It also ties for the most by any Big Sky player so far in 2009 (Portland State's Erica Jepsen had 12 against New Mexico on Aug. 29). Coviare also tied for the match high in kills tonight with 14.
Also, Alysha Cook combined 11 kills with zero attack errors to post an outstanding hitting percentage of .500 (11-0-22). Additionally, Hills tied for the match high in kills with 14, while Ashley Hamilton had 44 assists. Defensively, Hills had five blocks in the match and set the team pace in digs with 12. JaNae Mortensen tallied 10 digs in the contest.
After Northern Arizona jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first set, that stanza was close throughout. The Eagles quickly made it 9-8, and neither team went up by more than three the rest of the way. However, NAU's 24-21 advantage late was too much for the Eagles to make up on this occasion.
Northern Arizona pulled away from a tight 9-6 advantage in the second set to go on an 8-1 run and take a 17-7 lead before finishing off the stanza, 25-12. The Eagles then got some control of the match back by pulling away from a 16-16 tie to claim the third set, 25-19.
Set four went down to the wire, as the Eagles did rally from match point three straight times to turn a 24-21 deficit into a 24-24 tie. The teams then battled for a few more rallies before Eastern battled off one more match point at 26-25 to claim the next three tallies and force a fifth set with a 28-26 victory.
The Lumberjacks went up 10-7 in the fifth set only to see the Eagles storm back to tie the deciding stanza 12-12. At that point, however, Northern Arizona utilized a pair of kills sandwiched around a block of an Eastern attack to secure the final three points and claim a 15-12 set win.
"We made too many unforced errors tonight, but the biggest thing is that we need to go into every match with no preconceived notions," head coach Miles Kydd said of Eastern's performance.
The Eagles now look ahead to that UNC match, which will start at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday. The Bears are 12-8 overall.