Eastern Washington takes on No. 13 California at 7 tonight
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team fell into an early hole on Friday afternoon (Sept. 11) against San Jose State, but rallied for a 21-25, 25-22, 26-24, 25-20 win. The match was played in Berkeley, Calif., as part of the Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic.
The third set served as the pivotal turning point this afternoon. After San Jose State rallied to turn a 17-13 Eastern advantage into a commanding 23-19 Spartans lead, the Eagles were able to show its grit with the set - and the momentum of the match - on the line.
Eastern (4-4) quickly tied the score 23-23 with four straight points and turned a SJSU set point at 24-23 into a 26-24 win with a block by Chenoa Coviare and Jacque Brown, a kill by Coviare and a putaway courtesy of Ashley Hamilton.
The fourth set saw Eastern Washington pull away from a 20-20 tie by scoring five straight points and putting away the match with a 25-20 victory. Brown had kills to give Eastern its 23rd and 25th points of the stanza.
San Jose State (0-7) had come out strong in the initial set, jumping out to a 10-4 lead and not letting the Eagles come to closer than three points the rest of the stanza (15-12). However, the Eagles pulled away from a narrow 17-16 lead in set two to claim a 25-22 win and tie the match at one set apiece.
Brown and Coviare each contributed double-digit kill totals and hit over .400 today. Brown had a .462 hitting percentage (13-1-26), and Coviare hit at a .455 clip (14-4-22). Those are the two highest averages posted by an Eagle (with at least 12 kills) so far this year.
Brown's double-double was the second of the junior's career, having previously achieved the feat against Northern Arizona on Oct. 4, 2008 (16 kills, 21 digs). Coviare has now hit .455 with at least 12 kills twice this year, previously doing so on Aug. 28 against Missouri State (12-2-22).
Hamilton had 33 assists to lead the match in that category.
On the defensive side of the ledger, three Eagles contributed double-digit dig totals: Hayley Hills (14), Lindsey Petroni (13) and Brown (11). Petroni's dig total more than doubled her previous high of five, set against Notre Dame on Sept. 5, 2008, and tied on Aug. 29 against San Francisco.
One thing that did not help Eastern today were its 14 service errors (compared with five service aces) and nine receiving errors.
"We struggled to pass and serve today, missed too many serves," head coach Miles Kydd. "We made (the match) a little tougher than it needed to be."
The Eagles are right back in action at 7 p.m., taking on host and 13th-ranked California. The Golden Bears are 3-3 against a top-notch schedule so far in 2009. The tournament will conclude with a Cal-San Jose State match on Saturday evening (Sept. 12).