Facing its second Pac-12 opponent of the season, the Eastern Washington women's volleyball team came out undaunted but fell in three sets to Washington State Friday, Sept. 6, in its first match of the Cougar Challenge in Pullman, Wash.
Eastern sees its two-match winning streak snapped with the loss. The Eagles now stand at 2-3 on the year while WSU improves to 4-0 with the win. Set scores for the match were: 20-25, 11-25, 19-25.
Junior Melissa Waelter led EWU with eight kills, hitting .429 (8-2-14) for the match. Senior Ashley Wright and sophomore Allie Schumacher added five kills apiece. Wright led the team in hitting percentage, hitting .667 (6-0-9) for the match.
Senior Lindsay Niemeier paced the team with 14 assists and eight digs.
The two teams went back and forth early in the first set, unable to gain much separation. A kill from Julian put the Eagles up, 7-5, and they would extend their lead to three, 9-6, on an attack error by the Cougars. A block from Doerpinghaus and Schumacher gave EWU a four-point advantage, 12-8, but the hosts battled back to tie things at 14-14 before taking the lead on an attack error from Julian that it would never relinquish. The Eagles managed to reduce their deficit to three four more times down the stretch but the Cougars answered each time, taking the first set.
Schumacher led the way in the opening set with three kills on seven swings. Niemeier led the team with five assists and four digs.
The second set was a completely different story as the Cougars came out on fire, putting away nearly every attempt. Eastern never led as Washington State hit .773 (17-0-22) to easily claim the set.
WSU took an early lead in the third set but the Eagles battled back to take a 6-4 lead on a kill from Waelter. The Cougars answered with a run that led to a 10-9 lead before extending their advantage to two, 12-10. A bad set brought EWU back to within one, 16-15, but head coach Wade Benson was forced to take a timeout after a block saw the hosts take a four-point lead, 19-15. Eastern would get no closer as Washington State won six of the last ten points, taking the set and the match.
The Cougars hit .463 (46-8-82), committing just eight errors on 82 swings. Ver'Leea Hardaway and Kyra Holt led the team with 11 kills apiece.
Eastern is back on the court tonight at 6 p.m. when it takes on South Dakota.