Eagles Fall to Conference-Leading Bengals, 3-0

With the first half of the Big Sky season in the books, Eastern aiming for a breakthrough in second go-around

Going up against the top team in the Big Sky Conference, the Eastern Washington University volleyball team could not stop the efficient offense of Idaho State, as the Bengals swept EWU, 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-16), on Saturday (Oct. 13) at Reed Gym in Pocatello, Idaho.

After striking out in its first 10 matchups of the 2012 Big Sky season, Eastern drops to 0-21 in the 2012 season. Idaho State improves to 14-4 overall, and remains atop the Big Sky standings with a 9-1 league record.

The Bengals hit a .289 clip Friday on their home court, compared to a .102 attack percentage recorded by Eastern Washington.

The Eagles actually opened the match with a strong performance, tallying 12 kills with only four errors on 34 attempts in the first set. Freshman Allie Schumacher had six of those kills, while sophomore Kelsey Julian and senior Cora Kellerman added two apiece from the outside.

But ISU was just a little sharper with 16 kills on a .316 clip. The Eagles managed to stay within two points of the home team for awhile, but following an EWU service error, the Bengals went on a 12-6 run to take a dangerous 23-17 lead. Eastern scored the next three points in a row, but ISU closed it out with back-to-back kills.

The Eagles had just 19 kills with 16 errors on 74 swings in the second and third sets combined, while ISU rattled off 29 kills with only eight errors.

Schumacher tied her career high for the third time this season with 13 kills, which was the most for any player on the court. She also had six digs, one block and one ace.  

After a strong effort against Weber State on Thursday (Oct. 11), Eastern’s middle hitters struggled versus the Bengals, recording just four kills on a combined -.095 attack percentage.

Senior Shelby Puckett, who suited up as libero for EWU, picked up a team-leading 12 digs. Fellow senior Laney Brown registered her sixth double-double of the season with 26 assists and 11 digs.

ISU’s sophomore outside hitter Tressa Lyman led the Bengals with 11 kills, while junior setter Lori Mendenhall was nearly flawless with the dump, recording five kills and no errors on six attempts. She also had 38 assists.

Eastern will have face the other top team in the league in its next matchup, as it plays at Portland State on Thursday (Oct. 18). The Vikings also boast a 9-1 league record, with their one loss coming in three sets to ISU.

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