EWU volleyball squad, like the football team, also plays a nationally-ranked Cal squad in Berkeley this weekend
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team wraps up a challenging first three weeks of its schedule with three more talented opponents.
The Eagles face Saint Mary's in Moraga, Calif., at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Sept. 10) before playing San Jose State and No. 13 California on Friday in Berkeley, Calif. First serves for those matches are set for 1 and 7 p.m., respectively.
Eastern's match with Cal will actually take place just 19-1/2 hours prior to EWU's football team playing the 12th-ranked Golden Bear football team the following afternoon.
Last weekend, the Eagles defeated opponents from Conference USA (Houston) and the Western Athletic Conference (Nevada) by 3-1 scores before battling Arizona, the host of the Marriott University Park Wildcat Classic, in an exciting four-set affair that the undefeated Wildcats (6-0) took 3-1. Arizona then entered the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll two days later at No. 25.
The Eagles are 3-3 after beating Missouri State 3-1 on Aug. 28. The Bears had played in the 2008 NCAA Tournament and are currently 5-2 with their only other loss coming to No. 12 Oregon. Eastern's two losses that weekend came to two other teams that played in the NCAAs a year ago, the Ducks and San Francisco.
Saint Mary's is off to a 5-1 start with wins over Connecticut, Nevada, Texas A&M and San Diego State and a loss to Cal. The Gaels will host San Jose State on Wednesday (Sept. 9) prior to welcoming the Eagles the following evening.
The Eagles and Gaels have split their two all-time meetings with Saint Mary's taking the most recent meeting on Aug. 24, 2007, by 30-11, 30-27, 30-24 scores.
San Jose State is 0-5 and will play that match at Saint Mary's before facing the Eagles. Eastern Washington and the Spartans have never met before.
California has played a top-notch schedule so far and is 2-3 with wins over Saint Mary's and Connecticut and losses to No. 20 UC Irvine, No. 2 Texas and No. 16 Saint Louis.
The Golden Bears have won both all-time meetings with Eastern Washington. The most recent meeting came on Sept. 8, 1999, and saw the California sweep the Eagles by 15-13, 15-5, 15-9 scores.
Hills Moves into Fifth in Kills Chart
The first weekend of the season, 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 from Aug. 28-29, she hit .365 (25-6-52) and contributed 1.20 blocks and 0.70 digs per set.
Coviare helped Eastern to a 3-1 win over Missouri State and tough-fought losses to No. 12 Oregon and San Francisco.
Coviare and Hamilton Named All-Tourney
For the second weekend in a row, Chenoa Coviare was named to an all-tournament team, this time at the Marriott University Park Wildcat Classic. She was joined on the squad by Ashley Hamilton.
Coviare had 2.25 kills and 0.83 blocks per set in Eastern's three matches at the tournament.
Arizona transfer Hamilton played well in her old stomping grounds, averaging 6.58 assists per set and hitting at a .296 clip (12-4-27).
The talented duo helped the Eagles to an impressive 2-1 showing at the tournament, which included 3-1 wins over Houston and Nevada and a good showing in a 3-1 loss to host Arizona, who is 6-0 and just entered the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll at No. 25.
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 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 at 5 and 7 p.m. on Nov. 27, while the title contest will take place at 7 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.