Eagles Stumble in Season Opener, Drop 3-0 Decision to Seattle

Unforced errors plague Eastern in 2011 debut

The Eastern Washington University volleyball team suffered a 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-19) loss at the hands of Seattle University on Friday (Aug. 26) at the Seattle U Fall Volley in Seattle, Wash.

The Eagles managed to out-block their opponent by three and the digs for each team were nearly identical, but a surfeit of unforced errors by EWU enabled the home team to come away with the sweep.

"There were some really good stretches in this match, but the bottom line is, we made too many unforced errors," said EWU head coach Miles Kydd. "Whether it be attacking errors or ball control issues, we need to find a way to clean it up."

"We had a lot of newcomers of the floor, who may have experienced some first-game jitters," added Kydd. "But we hope now that this one is out of the way, we can start to play serious volleyball. We need our hitters to attack at full speed. During practice, they are swinging away at every ball, but then in the game, it looked like we were afraid to take a chance. And usually, if you play tentative, you will get bad results."

The first set was a tight affair, as neither team led by more than four points. The Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead to open the set, but SU quickly responded with back-to-back blocks, followed by back-to-back kills to earn a 9-6 edge. After trading several points, Eastern pulled ahead by two at 21-19 on a kill by junior-captain Cora Kellerman. But that was the last point Eastern would score, as the Redhawks then rattled off five-consecutive kills to end the set at 25-21.

In the second set, Seattle put together several small runs, and Eastern could not find enough momentum to thwart the surge. The Eagles trailed by just two points at 20-18, but five-straight unforced errors gave Seattle a 2-0 lead heading into intermission.

The third set was a back-and-forth battle to start, but a kill by SU's Karina Mizstowska sparked a 15-6 run for the home team, giving Seattle a match point opportunity at 24-13. Eastern would not go down without a fight though, as junior Shelby Puckett served six-straight points to pull the Eagles within five at 24-19. The Redhawks managed to finally put it away on a vehement kill by senior Cristin Richards.

Eastern was led by senior Chenoa Rossi-Childress, who tallied 10 kills with only three errors on 20 attempts. She also registered four blocks for the red and white. Kellerman added nine kills and had seven digs, while Puckett finished the match with four kills, five digs and a team-high five blocks.

Senior libero Amy VanderWel led Eastern in the back row with a career-high 15 digs. 

As a team, Eastern tallied 8.5 blocks, compared to 5.5 for Seattle U, but the Redhawks had 42 kills and only 17 errors, compared to 32 kills and 21 errors for the Eagles.

Eastern will be back in action Saturday (Aug. 27) with an 11 a.m. match against Washington State, followed immediately by Santa Clara at 1 p.m.

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