Strong Showings From Middles Unable To Propel Eagles To Victory

Sacramento, Calif. – A strong first-set showing and strong performances from its middle blockers were unable to propel the Eastern Washington women's volleyball team to victory Saturday, Oct. 26, as the Eagles fell in four sets to Sacramento State in a Big Sky match at the Nest.

EWU falls to 7-15 and 4-7 in the Big Sky while the Hornets improve to 12-11 (7-5 BSC) with the win. Set scores for the match were: 27-25, 23-25, 15-25, 21-25.

Junior Talia Fermantez led Eastern with 11 kills, adding seven blocks and four digs. Sophomore Allison Doerpinghaus was right behind her with eight kills, committing just one error for a hitting percentage of .389. She added a match-high eight blocks and three digs.

Senior Lindsay Niemeier tallied 36 assists to go along with six digs and four blocks. Sophomore Ryann Ensrud paced the Eagles with 12 digs.

The hosts led for a majority of the first set, taking a 14-8 lead on a block from Sloan Lovett and Courtney Dietrich. The Eagles responded with a strong sequence of play to pull to within one, 16-15, forcing the Hornets to call timeout. CSUS regained a three-point lead, 21-18, on attack error from junior Kelsey Julian, but Eastern rallied to tie the match at 22-22 on a service ace from Doerpinghaus before taking a 23-22 lead on a kill from senior Ashley Wright. EWU staved off set point to tie the score at 24-24 before taking a 25-24 lead on an attack error from Kayla Beal. A kill from Sacramento State tied the score at 25-25 but a kill from Fermantez and a block from Fermantez and Wright secured the first set for the Eagles.

Eastern held a slim lead in the early part of the second set, taking a 7-6 lead on a service ace from Julian that forced the Hornets to call timeout. Two consecutive kills from Julian and an attack error from Lovett gave EWU a 14-11 lead, only to see the hosts come back to take an 18-17 advantage, leading to an Eastern timeout. Sacramento State would lead the rest of the way despite a late charge from the Eagles that saw Doerpinghaus tie the score at 23-23 with a kill late in the frame. Two consecutive points from the Hornets would even the match at one set apiece heading into the break.

The third set saw the Hornets break open a close game with a six-point run, turning a 13-9 lead into a 19-9 lead. Eastern was able to prevent three straight set points from Sacramento State down the stretch behind two big blocks, but the hosts eventually broke through to take a 2-1 lead.

The two teams went back and forth in the fourth set, with freshman Chloe Watson giving Eastern an early 6-3 lead. Trailing by two, a kill from junior Stanka Panic, a service ace from Niemeier and a kill from Doerpinghaus gave the Eagles a 13-12 lead and forced the hosts to call timeout. After Sacramento State came back to tie the match, a block from Julian and Doerpinghaus put the Eagles up 17-16. The hosts responded by winning five straight points to take a 21-17 lead late in the set. Eastern crawled back to within two, 22-20, on a kill from Wright but would get no closer as the Hornets held on for the win.

Both Beal and Lovett notched 13 kills for Sacramento State while Morgan Stanley added 10. Beal chipped in 10 digs while Stanley added 10 digs as both finished with double-doubles.

The Eagles hit .160 for the match compared to the Hornets' hitting percentage of .207. CSUS tallied 10 service aces to Eastern's seven, but EWU outblocked Sacramento State 16-14.

Eastern is back at home this Monday, Oct. 28, hosting rival Portland State in a Dam Cup match at 6 p.m.

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