Vandals Upend Eastern, 3-1
Errors plague Eastern in final match before Big Sky season
Despite four Eagles with double-digit kills and a career-high night for freshman libero Tyler Calles, the Eastern Washington University volleyball team fell to Idaho 3-1 (25-18, 25-17, 16-25, 25-10) on Friday (Sept. 10) in Moscow, Idaho.
Eastern tallied 51 kills in the four-set match, which was 12 more than its opponent, but the Eagles could not manage their offensive miscues, recording 35 attack errors, as opposed to just 12 for the Vandals.
“We definitely challenged the Vandals in that contest, as evidenced by our leading kills, digs and assists,” said EWU head coach Miles Kydd. “We just made too many errors and couldn’t recover when we fell behind. We are still trying to figure out a rotation that works, and our continuity in the game is suffering as a result.”
Senior Allison Reinstein led all players with a .474 attack percentage. The Livermore, Calif., native hammered a season-high 10 kills, while recording only one error in her 19 attempts. Calles also had a career night, as she picked up a 23 digs in the back row. Sophomore Shelby Puckett notched her second-straight double-double and third of the season with 12 kills and 13 digs.
Seniors Alysha Cook and Chenoa Coviare also eclipsed double-digit kills, as Cook tallied 12 and Coviare chipped in 10. Redshirt-freshman Lindsay Niemeier tied her career-high in assists with 22, while her counterpart, Laney Brown added 19.
After dropping the first two sets, the Eagles looked as though they would mount a comeback with a dominating performance in the third. Puckett pounded three-consecutive kills to give Eastern an early 6-1 advantage. Kydd was forced to call timeout after Idaho pulled within two at 11-9, but Reinstein slammed back-to-back kills coming out of the break, which sparked a 14-6 run by the Eagles to close out the set. As a team, EWU recorded an impressive .361 attack percentage (17-4-36), while holding the Vandals to a mere eight kills on their 31 attempts. Coviare was flawless in her attack during the third set, as the Medford, Ore., native tallied four kills and no errors on four attempts. Reinstein also turned in a nearly perfect performance, as she had five kills and no errors on eight attempts.
Unfortunately, the Vandals were able to work out the kinks in between the third and fourth sets, as the home team rolled to victory in the fourth with a 25-11 decision
“Whenever we go ahead early, like we did in the third set, we have a great game,” said Kydd. “We controlled the pace and did a great job of running through the middle. In order to win the match though, we need to start strong and maintain that confidence in every set, as opposed to just one, as was the case in both our contests today.”
The Eagles open Big Sky Conference action next weekend when they travel to the treasure state to take on Montana and Montana State on Sept. 17 and 18, respectively. The Grizzlies were picked as the co- favorite in the BSC Preseason Coaches’ poll, while Montana State, who finished with a 1-15 league record a year ago, was picked last. However, the Bobcats currently have the second-best record of all nine teams in the Big Sky at 5-2.