Eastern Battles, but Falls in Three to Washington State

WSU’s Meagan Ganzer goes off for 30 kills; Eastern falters in clutch

The Eastern Washington University volleyball team could not find an answer for Washington State’s Meagan Ganzer, as the senior from Black Diamond, Wash., recorded 30 kills to lead the Cougars to a 3-0 victory against EWU Thursday (Sept. 9) in Pullman, Wash. The Eagles fall to 1-6 on the season, while Washington State improves its overall record to 4-3.

The Eagles exhibited a versatile offense, as four different players recorded at least five kills in the match, but it was not enough to counter the offensive prowess of Ganzer. Senior Chenoa Coviare hit a team-leading .350 clip, with 10 kills and only three errors in her 20 attempts. Sophomore Shelby Puckett contributed nine kills, while senior Alysha Cook, who was playing in her first match of the 2010 season, chipped in four. Sophomore Laney Brown and redshirt-freshman Lindsay Niemeier, who split setting duties as part of a 6-2 offense, both played solid in the match, tallying 17 and 16 assists, respectively. Brown also picked up eight digs, five of which came at pivotal points in the nail-biting third set.

After narrowly dropping the first two sets by scores of 25-20 and 25-23, Eastern came out of the break determined to get one back. EWU jumped out to an early 6-3 lead after the Cougars committed three unforced errors to open the set. Washington State clawed its way back and managed to earn a 14-12 edge, but an authoritative kill by Puckett sparked a seven-point run for the Red and White. During the run, Coviare, Brown and senior Allison Reinstein all recorded kills.

As quickly as the momentum had shifted in Eastern’s favor, WSU fired right back, as the home team scored eight of the next 12 points to take a 23-22 advantage. EWU tied the game at 23-23 and again at 26-26, but could not maintain the Cougars’ next two serves, resulting in a heartbreaking 28-26 loss.

“We competed hard and definitely made some progress tonight,” said EWU head coach Miles Kydd. “But we cannot commit so many errors in those tight situations. We had them beat up to 20 points in almost every set, but then struggled when it came time to close it out.”

The second set was also a back-and-forth battle, as neither team led by more than three points throughout the entire contest. Kydd was forced to call a timeout after Ganzer tallied three kills late in the set to put the Cougars up 23-21. Coviare responded out of the break, hammering two kills of her own to knot the score at 23-23, but an inopportune service error, followed by a Cougar block gave WSU the 25-23 victory.

The Eagles will continue play from the Nike Cougar Challenge Tournament on Friday (Sept. 10) when they take on Cal Poly at 1 p.m.

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