Eastern sweeps Northern Arizona with late rally in the third
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team utilized a late run in the third set to solidify a sweep (25-14, 25-21, 25-23) of the visiting Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Friday (Oct. 15) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. With the win, Eastern improves to 3-4 in the Big Sky Conference, and 4-13 overall, while NAU drops to 3-4 in league play and 7-10 overall.
Down 19-23 in the third set, Eastern earned an important side out after NAU's Lexi Sullivan committed an offensive error. Thanks to the steady serving of freshman Tyler Calles, the Eagles went on a 6-0 run to close out the set and the match. Senior Alysha Cook got the momentum moving in Eastern's favor with a vehement kill that pulled the home team within three at 23-20. Calles then followed with an ace, while seniors Allison Reinstein, Jacque Brown and Cook combined for a triple block on the next play. Two more kills by Cook and Reinstein, followed by an attack error on NAU gave Eastern the hard-fought 25-23 victory.
"It feels great to get a come-from-behind win," said EWU head coach Miles Kydd. "We showed we really wanted to get the sweep, and were willing to expend the effort to do that tonight. Tyler definitely gave us a boost at the end with her serving."
The Eagles took the first set handily, as the team hit an impressive .325 clip (16-3-40). Senior Chenoa Coviare was nearly flawless in the first frame, as she had five kills and no errors on seven total attempts. She also contributed to all four of Eastern's blocks.
The second set was more of an even battle, with 13 ties and eight lead changes, but Eastern was able to disrupt the NAU attack late in the set. NAU junior Kobi Christensen committed four-consecutive errors on offense, which allowed the Eagles to take the set 25-21.
Senior Jacque Brown led the Red and White on both the offensive and defensive end, as she earned her fourth double-double of the season. The Waterville, Wash., native tallied 11 kills and 17 digs, while also contributing five assists and two blocks. Her sister, Laney Brown, also had a stellar night, as the sophomore setter registered 35 assists and a career-high five kills and six blocks.
Redshirt-freshman Ashley Wright chipped in eight kills, and a career-high four blocks and five digs, while Reinstein added six kills, four blocks and tied her career-high in digs with six.
Coviare hit a .316 clip in the three-set match, which included eight kills and only two errors on her 19 attempts. She also added a team-leading seven blocks, which moved the senior into a tie for fourth on Eastern's all-time career blocks list. She has now tallied 436 total in her career.
The Eagles held the Lumberjacks a dismal .036 hitting efficiency in the contest, which was the second-lowest attack percentage recorded by an Eagle opponent this season. The Red and White finished the night with 13 team blocks and 70 digs.
"I gave the girls full credit for the win tonight," said Kydd. "It wasn't like we were blowing them away the whole time. We had some shaky moments, but we persevered. Hopefully this gives us a good boost to our confidence heading into tomorrow night."
The Eagles will play Northern Colorado on Saturday (Oct. 16) who is currently tied for the top spot in the conference. The Bears are coming off a difficult loss to the Portland State Vikings, who handed UNC its first loss of the conference season on Friday (Oct. 15) with a 3-2 decision. Eastern hopes to have similar success on its home court, where the team has won all three of its BSC matches this season.
"Northern Colorado is a good team with two dominant hitters," said Kydd. "We have to limit those to players – Ashley Lichtenberg and Kelley Arnold – if we want to have a chance. We have to pass the ball well and serve tough like we did tonight."