Eagles knock off Weber State 3-0, remain in first-place tie in Big Sky standings
Ashley Hamilton had one of the best performances in NCAA Division I history tonight in helping lead the Eastern Washington University volleyball team to a dominating 25-17, 25-17, 25-7 win over visiting Weber State on Friday evening (Oct. 23) to remain in a first-place tie in the Big Sky Conference standings.
Hamilton hit 1.000 in tonight's match with 12 kills on 12 attacks (12-0-12), tying the Division I record and setting Big Sky and EWU school records for hitting percentage. In Division I history, this feat (with at least 10 attempts) has only been achieved 22 times in history entering the 2009 season.
Hamilton also helped lead an offense that recorded its highest hitting percentage in three years, .488 (47-8-80). She had 32 assists tonight to go with six digs and four blocks. The last time EWU hit that well as a team was .569 (45-8-65) in a 30-11, 30-11, 30-10 win over St. Francis (N.Y.) on Sept. 1, 2006.
"Ashley's performance was the best I have had a setter play," head coach Miles Kydd said. "Her whole game was outstanding, including her setting, blocking and defense."
Tonight's first set saw the Eagles (13-7) utilize an 8-1 run to go up 19-12 on their way to a 25-17 win. In the second stanza, EWU was holding on to a 17-14 advantage before ending the set on an 8-3 run and prevailing, 25-17. The third set was never in doubt, as EWU went up 8-1 and did not look back in a 25-7 win.
The seven points allowed are the least given up by an Eastern team since rally scoring was introduced to NCAA volleyball in 2001.
The win improved the Eagles to 7-2 in league play, and EWU is tied for the top spot with Portland State. Northern Colorado, who was off tonight, is just behind at 6-2. Weber State dropped to 5-16, 3-6 in Big Sky matches, with tonight's loss to the Eagles.
In addition to Hamilton, four other Eagles hit .400 or better tonight. Shelby Puckett posted a .714 hitting percentage (5-0-7), Chenoa Coviare hit at a .462 clip (8-2-13), Sara Todorovich hit .455 (6-1-11), and Jacque Brown had a .417 hitting percentage (6-1-12).
Defensively, JaNae Mortensen had 14 digs, while Coviare set the match pace in blocks with five.
The Eagles next play Idaho State at 7 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 24) at Reese Court on the EWU campus. The Bengals fell 25-22, 25-20, 25-13 at Portland State tonight to fall to 9-12, 3-6 in Big Sky play.