Eastern Tops Idaho State, 3-1 to Claim First Big Sky Victory of 2010

Eagles record season-high 14.5 blocks, led by Coviare who tallied 400th career block.

Behind the efficient hitting and relentless blocking of seniors Chenoa Coviare and Alysha Cook, the Eastern Washington University volleyball team recorded its first win of the 2010 Big Sky season, as it defeated Idaho State, 3-1 (25-21, 25-14, 25-18, 25-20) on Friday (Sept. 24) at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. The Eagles improve their overall record to 2-10 and 1-2 in Big Sky action, while Idaho State falls to 8-5 overall and 1-2 in league play.

Coviare tallied 11 kills with only one error in her 22 attempts, for a team-leading .455 attack percentage. The Medford, Ore., native also contributed a season-high 10 blocks, bringing her career-total to 409, which ranks fifth on Eastern's all-time career records list. Coviare's 11 kills and 10 blocks marked the first double-double of the 2010 season for the senior.

Cook also turned in a proficient night of offense, as she hit a .444 clip with 13 kills and only one error on her 27 total attempts. The Kennewick, Wash., native tied her season-high in blocks with seven, while also picking up four digs for the Eagles. As a team, EWU turned in its second-best attack percentage of the season at .250 (53-18.140), while committing the fewest unforced errors in its last five outings.

"It was great to get a win," said EWU head coach Miles Kydd. "I'm excited for the girls, and proud of the way they played. There is always going to be moments in a game when things could go better, but we blocked the heck out of the ball at the end of the game, and we did a great job of limiting our unforced errors."

Senior Jacque Brown was the third eagle to eclipse double-digit kills, as she chipped in 12. Brown also had a season-high two service aces and contributed eight digs to Eastern's defensive effort. Redshirt-freshman Lindsay Niemeier recorded 44 assists, while junior libero Lindsey Petroni picked up a team-leading 17 digs.

After trading points with the Bengals to start the first set, Eastern went on a 6-1 run behind the consistent serving of freshman Celeste Crosby to take a 15-10 lead. ISU's Haylee Thompson-Brock scored four of the next six points to pull the Bengals within one at 18-17, but Cook answered with two kills and a block, which put the home team back up by three at 22-19. The Bengals managed to score two more points, but back-to-back kills by Brown and Coviare sealed the 25-21 victory for the Eagles.

Eastern jumped out to an 11-4 lead to start the second set, thanks to a versatile offense that included kills from Cook, Coviare and Niemeier. Idaho State was able to pull within four at 16-12, but an onslaught of unforced errors by the Bengals allowed Eastern to go on a 9-2 run to close out the set.

Idaho State came out strong in the third, as it hit a .368 clip behind six kills from Thompson-Brock. The Bengals held a 17-11 lead before Kydd called a timeout to refocus his team. The Eagles scored four quick points, but it was not enough as the Bengals took the set 25-18.

The Bengals seemed to carry the momentum over to start the four set, as it took an early 10-7 lead, but Eastern responded, going on an 11-2 run midway through the set to eventually take a 17-13 edge. Senior Allison Reinstein served six-straight points for the Eagles during the run, while Brown, Cook and Coviare all recorded kills. Eastern claimed the set and the match with a 25-20 decision in the fourth.

With the win, the Eagles extended its stellar home record to 86-14 over the last decade, while recording its 15th-consecutive victory against the Bengals at Reese Court. The last time ISU left Cheney with a W was on Sept. 23, 1995. The win against the Bengals also snapped a 10-game losing skid for EWU in this 2010 season.

"This win was huge," said Kydd. "We have struggled to date, but we felt all along that once we started Big Sky, we would be fine. You can tell the girls they're good and they can tell themselves they're good, but until they go out and get those wins, it's hard for them to truly believe that. I think they know now how strong we are. After playing all of our previous games away, being at home was also a huge for us. We want to dominate at home."

Eastern will look to add another win to its record tomorrow (Sept. 25) when it takes on Weber State at 7 p.m. at Reese Court.

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