Eastern records season-high 107 digs, but unforced errors plague Eagles in final outing at Reese Court
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team closed out the 2011 regular season with a tough 3-2 loss to the Hornets of Sacramento State on Friday (Nov. 18) in Cheney, Wash.
With the loss, Eastern (13-14, 9-7) solidified the fourth seed in the Big Sky Conference tournament, and will play No. 1 seed Northern Colorado on Friday (Nov. 25) at 5:30 p.m. at the Peter W. Stott Center in Portland, Ore.
Two of Eastern's three seniors, who were all honored before the match, posted career-high numbers, but it was simply not enough to make up for the plethora of unforced errors.
Eastern had 37 hitting errors, 11 missed serves and 11 reception errors in Friday's contest.
"We lost that game because of unforced errors," said EWU head coach Miles Kydd. "We were scared to make mistakes, and when you're only focused on not making errors, you make them. Instead of playing assertive, we were tentative. We have to be better than this going into the tournament."
After recording a combined 31 kills with only 12 errors in sets two and three, which Eastern won 26-24 and 25-20, the Eagles hit -.094 in the final two frames. In 11 five-set matches played this season, Eastern has only lost three of them, which includes tonight's.
Sacramento State did not hit particularly well either, but it did just enough to stay in control of the match. The Hornets finished with a .068 attack percentage of 42 kills and 29 errors in 191 total swings. Sac State actually had three more service errors than Eastern on the night, but made up for it with 11 aces. The Hornets also tallied 15 blocks, seven of which came in sets four and five.
"We are glad this wasn't our last match of the season, but winning tonight was important for a number of other reasons," said Kydd. "We wanted to do it for our seniors. Every match should mean something, and we should have played better for each other, for our fans and for Eagle pride."
Senior Chenoa Rossi-Childress posted a career-high 13 kills, while also contributing six blocks. Senior libero Lindsey Petroni matched her career-high of 33 digs, which was the seventh 30-dig outing of her career - the most in school history.
Senior Amy VanderWel, who was also recognized before the match, finished with three digs and one service ace.
Sophomore setter Lindsay Niemeier, who leads the Big Sky Conference in double-doubles, picked up her 17th of the season with 23 assists and 15 digs.
Freshman Talia Fermantez had five kills on a .417 attack percentage and added a team-high seven blocks.