Eastern now looks ahead to another challenging week, which includes a match with No. 10 Cal
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team played well in what turned out to be the title contest at the Marriott University Park Wildcat Classic, especially in the third set, before falling to the undefeated host, Arizona, by 25-20, 25-22, 13-25, 25-18 scores on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 5).
Ashley Hamilton and Chenoa Coviare were rewarded for their outstanding play over the weekend by being honored on the All-Tournament team. In the three matches, Hamilton averaged 6.58 assists per set and hit .296 (12-4-27). Coviare had 2.25 kills per set and was an intimidating force at the net, recording 0.83 blocks per set.
Arizona (6-0) stayed just ahead of the Eagles throughout the first set and hung on for a 25-20 win. In the second set, Eastern (3-3) jumped out to a 17-10 advantage before Arizona roared back with a 13-2 run to take a 23-19 lead on its way to a 25-22 win.
The third set was all Eastern from start to finish, however, as the Eagles jumped out to a 12-5 advantage and kept the pressure on throughout the stanza, winning convincingly, 25-13. However, Arizona responded in the fourth set, going up 9-4 and not letting the Eagles get to closer than three points the rest of the way (12-9), finishing off the match with a 25-18 victory.
"Arizona is obviously very athletic, but we put some pressure on them," head coach Miles Kydd said. "We unfortunately did not finish out the second set but, when we got a big lead again (in the third set), we kept playing and didn't get ahead of ourselves.
"You have to be in these matches before you can appreciate that you can play with and be successful against these types of teams. Obviously we are not happy with the result and are disappointed that we did not capitalize on some of our chances, but today was a big step for us. We got after it with them."
Arizona transfer Hamilton played impressively against her former team, hitting .400 (5-1-10) to go with 29 assists and six digs.
"Today meant a lot to Ashley, and she played with an incredible amount of heart," Kydd said.
Arizona State transfer Sara Todorovich performed well against her former rivals, hitting .438 (8-1-16) and contributing two blocks. JaNae Mortensen set the EWU pace in digs with 14 today. Cora Kellerman had 10 kills in the contest to lead the Eagles in that category. Coviare had seven kills and a pair of blocks today.
Eastern Washington continues its challenging first three weeks of the season with a trip to the Bay Area. The Eagles first face Saint Mary's at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Sept. 10). The Gaels are 2-1, but will play three more times before hosting the Eagles.
The Eagles then play San Jose State (currently 0-4) and No. 10 California (2-2) in Berkeley, Calif., at the Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic the following day.