Eagles Pull Away in Fourth, Topple Grizzlies

Sept. 27, 2008

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Eastern Washington and Montana appeared destined to another marathon match before the Eagles made quick work of the fourth set to defeat the Grizzlies 25-22, 27-29, 26-24, 25-13 in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match on Saturday evening (Sept. 27).

Hayley Hills once again had an outstanding offensive performance, as her kill total of 28 is the most recorded by a Big Sky player so far in 2008. Hills now also has the second-highest sum, 26, which she did in a 3-2 win at Weber State on Sept. 18.

The Eagles had an outstanding hitting percentage, as the team hit at a .301 clip (72-23-163), its highest average of the season. Three players hit .400 or higher: Chenoa Coviare (.476, 13-3-21), Ashley Hamilton (.471, 9-1-17) and Hills (.458, 28-6-48).

“That’s good (the .301 team hitting percentage),” head coach Miles Kydd said. “I need to give the players a lot of credit. This is probably the best match we have played this year.”

Mandy Daniels had 31 digs, tied for the third-highest sum by a Big Sky player in 2008 and two off of her career high (she had 33 against Sacramento State on Sept. 16, 2007).
Hills had 15 digs, tying her season high (also had 15 versus Washington State on Sept. 6 and Idaho State on Sept. 20).

Ashley Hamilton contributed 47 assists, the second-most by an Eagle this year (she had 59 at Weber State on Sept. 18). Chenoa Coviare set the team pace in blocks with five.

After the teams played the second-longest match in NCAA Division I history last year in Cheney – a 30-26, 35-37, 40-38, 22-30, 17-15 EWU win – two of tonight’s first three sets also saw extended play.

The Eagles were up 20-14 in the opening set before Montana rallied to cut the lead to one at 22-21 with a 7-2 run. At that point, Eastern Washington closed play with three of the final four points, the last one coming courtesy of a Hayley Hills kill.

In the second stanza, Eastern Washington turned the tables by turning a 20-15 Montana edge into a 23-21 advantage on the strength of an impressive 8-1 run. Unfortunately for EWU, the Grizzlies would respond and pull out a dramatic 29-27 win to tie the match at one set apiece.

Eastern had a 19-15 advantage in the third set, but Montana would tie the set 22-22 and then rally from two EWU set points at 24-22 to cause a 24-all stalemate. At that point, however, Eastern Washington posted the final two tallies on the scoreboard to prevail 26-24.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Amanda Yausie coming in off the bench,” Kydd said. “We were down when she came in and, when she left, we were up by two points, so it was a big deal for her. I think she got us past the third set win there.”

The fourth set, however, saw the Eagles pull away and keep a significant advantage throughout, as EWU led 12-6 and 19-11 in that stanza. Hills also put this set away, ending the contest with three straight kills. 

The Eagles now hit the road and will take on Northern Colorado at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday (Oct. 2). The Bears are 8-3, 2-1 in Big Sky play, after sweeping Sacramento State tonight.

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