3 More Challenges Await Eagles

After playing well in Oregon, Eastern Washington now heads to Arizona to face Houston, Nevada and the host Wildcats

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The Eastern Washington University volleyball team continues its rigorous non-conference schedule this weekend with matches against Houston, Nevada and Arizona at the Marriott University Park Wildcat Classic in Tucson, Ariz.

On Friday (Sept. 4), the Eagles will face Houston at 1 p.m. and Nevada at 4:30 p.m. The Eagles then wrap up their weekend with a match versus the host Wildcats at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 5).

Eastern Washington is coming off a challenging tournament in which the team faced three teams that had each played in the NCAA Tournament a year ago and were receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll. Eastern defeated Missouri State 3-1 before falling 3-0 to No. 14 Oregon and out-hitting, but losing to, San Francisco 3-0.

Chenoa Coviare had an outstanding weekend for the Eagles and was rewarded for her efforts with All-Oregon Classic accolades. For the weekend, she hit .365 (25-6-52) and contributed 1.20 blocks and 0.70 digs per set.

Houston had a solid 2008 season, going 20-12, but the Cougars went a disappointing 1-3 at last week's Flo Hyman Invitational, which UH hosted.

Eastern Washington took the only meeting between the teams in an 11-15, 15-8, 6-15, 15-10, 15-5 decision at the Houston Invitational on Sept. 27, 1985.

Nevada played host to the Marriott Courtyard/Fairfield Invitational last weekend and went 1-2. The Wolf Pack was 12-17 a year ago.

Eastern leads the all-time series with Nevada 9-3. However, the former Big Sky Conference rivals have not met since a 15-8, 15-8, 15-7 Eastern win in Cheney on Oct. 26, 1991.

Arizona received votes in this week's top-25 poll and opened its 2009 slate in impressive style, winning all three matches at the Sheraton Riverside/Puccini's Cardinal Classic in Louisville, Ky. A year ago, the Wildcats were uncharacteristically just above .500 at 16-14.

The Eagles will be looking for their first-ever win over Arizona, as the Wildcats have taken all five meetings between the teams, the most recent one coming by 30-25, 30-18, 30-24 scores in Tucson at the Four Points University Plaza Wildcat Classic on Aug. 24, 2007.


Hills Moves into Fifth in Kills Chart                

Over the weekend, senior outside hitter Hayley Hills moved into fifth place on the career kills chart in Eastern Washington history.

After earning her 1,000th kill in a 3-1 win at Sacramento State on Nov. 21 of last year, she has since attained 89 more putaways and currently has 1,089 kills.

Next up on the list, in fourth place, is Andrea Pochman, who had 1,148 kills from 1990-93. Second place is well within reach for Hills this year, as Janelle Ruen (1999-2002) holds that spot with 1,268 putaways.

Kim Exner (1995-98) holds the record of 1,860.


Coviare Earns All-Oregon Classic Team                

Chenoa Coviare had an outstanding weekend for the Eagles and was rewarded for her efforts with All-Oregon Classic accolades.

In the three matches played, she hit .365 (25-6-52) and contributed 1.20 blocks and 0.70 digs per set.


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 Friday (Aug. 28).

The win was especially impressive, as the Bears played in the 2008 NCAA Tournament and had received 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.

"I think we had a different focus after being up 2-0 instead of keeping our nose to the grindstone," head coach Miles Kydd said. "But we did a good job finishing and beat a top-50 team, which is significant since that is where we see ourselves."


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 on Nov. 27, while the title contest will take place the following evening.

The winner of that match will earn the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, which starts the following weekend.


Big Sky Preseason Poll                                      

In the Big Sky Coaches Preseason Poll, defending Big Sky Tournament champion Portland State, who finished just behind the Eagles in the regular-season standings a year ago, were picked first. The Vikings were followed, in order, by Eastern Washington, Northern Colorado, Montana, Weber State, Sacramento State, Northern Arizona, Idaho State and Montana State.

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