Eagles Prepare for Four Matches in Two Days to Kick Off 2012 Campaign

Eastern expecting to be tested against some new and some familiar competition at season-opening tourney in Laramie, Wyo.

Upcoming Matches/Coverage

EWU vs. San Francisco
Friday, Aug. 24 | 10 a.m. PDT
UniWyo Sports Complex | Laramie, Wyo.
Live Stats

EWU vs. Seattle
Friday, Aug. 24 | 4 p.m. PDT
UniWyo Sports Complex | Laramie, Wyo.
Live Stats

EWU vs. Presbyterian
Saturday, Aug. 25 | 8 a.m. PDT
UniWyo Sports Complex | Laramie, Wyo.
Live Stats

EWU at Wyoming
Saturday, Aug. 25 | 12:30 p.m. PDT
UniWyo Sports Complex | Laramie, Wyo.
Live Stats | Live Video

The Eastern Washington University volleyball team has a busy opening weekend in store, as the Eagles head to Laramie, Wyo., for the UniWyo Wyoming Invitational. In its 2012 debut, Eastern will face San Francisco and Seattle on Friday (Aug. 24), followed by two more matches on Saturday (Aug. 25) against Presbyterian and host-Wyoming.

The Eagles enter this 2012 season with nine returning letterwinners, two returning redshirts and four newcomers. Although experience among its bench players is limited this year, Eastern returns a five of six starters from the 2011 squad, who are all battle-tested and ready to lead the team in Laramie and throughout the rest of the season.

With the exception of the host school, Eastern has played each of the four tournament teams at least once in the last three years. The Eagles are particularly eager for the rematch with Seattle, as the in-state rival edged EWU twice in 2010 and once in the 2011 season.

Eastern played Presbyterian last year in a different early-season tournament in Tucson, Ariz., where it beat the Blue Hose 3-1. The Eagles and Dons met in 2009, with San Francisco taking that match in three. Eastern has only played Wyoming only once since becoming a member of Division I, and it was back in 1993. The Cowgirls won that meeting in Laramie, 3-0.

Scouting the Competition:

San Francisco - The Dons return four starters from the 2011 squad that went 16-13 overall and 8-8 in the West Coast Conference. San Francisco is led by junior Malina Terrell, who plays on both the outside and in the middle. A preseason All-WCC selection, Terrell averaged 2.14 kills per set last season on a .348 attack percentage. USF’s Valentina Zaloznik poses another threat in the middle, as the 6-4 sophomore averaged 2.56 kills and 1.06 blocks per set in 2011. The Dons are coached by sixth-year head coach Gilad Doran, who has a 73-70 record at San Francisco.

Seattle - The Redhawks enter their first year as an official member of the Western Athletic Conference. In 2011 as an independent, Seattle posted a 5-22 record, but one of those five wins was against EWU. The Redhawks return 10 letterwinners, including three seniors in Kelly Biette (MB), Kaytlyn Dill (OH) and Karina Miastkowska (OH). Head coach Shannon Ellis returns for her ninth season at SU with a 99-127 overall record.

Presbyterian - The Blue Hose out of the Big South Conference return all six starters and their libero from the 2011 squad that went 13-17 overall and 7-7 in league play. Presbyterian’s senior outside hitter Presley Mabrey was named to the Big South preseason all-conference team, after leading PC in 2011 with 3.41 kills per set and 48 service aces. When EWU played the Blue Hose last season, Mabrey was set 36 times, but only put 11 away for points. She did have three service aces though. Presbyterian is coached by Chris Belshe, who has an 82-113 record in his seven years with the program.

Wyoming - The Cowgirls may pose the biggest threat to Eastern at the season-opening tourney, not only because they will enjoy home court advantage, but UW is coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons and returns all six starters from 2011. After a 22-10 run last season, the Cowgirls were selected third in the Mountain West Conference preseason coaches’ poll, which was their highest preseason ranking since joining the league in 1999. Wyoming is led by the MWC preseason Co-Player of the Year Jodi Purdy. The 5-11 outside hitter averaged 3.41 kills and 3.18 digs per set in 2011. At the helm of the program is fifth-year head coach Carrie Yerty, who actually started her coaching career at Eastern Washington. She was as an assistant under Pamela Parks from 1992-94. Yerty has a career coaching record of 294-233, which includes a 61-59 mark at Wyoming.

More Eagle Volleyball Links & Headlines

2012 Season Outlook - Behind Strong Leadership, Eagles Aim for Synergy in 2012

2012 Big Sky Preseason Coaches' Poll - Eagles Tabbed Third in Big Sky Preseason Poll

Alumni Scrimmage Recap - Eagles Cruise Past Alumni, 3-0

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