Eastern hoping home court advantage produces first win of 2012 season
After 12-straight matches on the road, the Eastern Washington University volleyball team will finally enjoy a little home court advantage this Monday (Sept. 17) when it plays Portland State at 7 p.m. at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Eastern has yet to record a win in the 2012 season, but will look to change that in the home debut. The Eagles have had an array of injuries to deal with in the early season, but the team is getting stronger and deeper as each week passes and players return to the lineup. With the recent recovery of senior setter Laney Brown and junior defensive specialist Celeste Crosby, the Eagles now have a few more veteran faces available as the Big Sky season gets into full swing.
- Although Eastern holds a 26-19 advantage in the all-time series, the Eagles have not won a match against the Vikings since Nov. 15, 2008. Portland State has swept the regular-season series with EWU for three-straight years, but in the meetings in Cheney, Eastern has always managed to take at least one set off the Vikings. The overall series history when playing in Cheney is 13-8, in favor of EWU.
Scouting the Vikings
- Portland State comes to Cheney with a 5-7 overall record and 1-0 mark in Big Sky play, after narrowly defeating Sac State, 3-2, on Saturday (Sept. 15) in Sacramento. The win was just the second ever for PSU at Colberg Court, and the first since 1983. Eastern dropped its season-opener at Sac State two days earlier on Thursday (Sept. 13).
- The Vikings returned all six starters from its 2011 squad that finished second in the Big Sky with a 12-4 league record (18-13 overall). However, PSU’s biggest threat this season is newcomer Jaklyn Wheeler, who transferred from Pac-12 powerhouse Oregon following the 2011 campaign. The 6-0 outside hitter averages 4.24 kills per set on a.221 efficiency. She has had 20+ kills in four different this season. Senior Megan Ellis is also a threat on the outside, as she averages 3.36 kills per set. She was an All-Big Sky First-Team selection in 2011, as was junior setter Garyn Schlatter, who averages 11.13 assists per set to rank among the top 30 in the nation.
- Portland State has claimed three of the last five Big Sky regular-season titles, and won the tournament title in 2008 and 2010.