Eagles Rally From First-Set Loss, Defeat Idaho State 3-1

Oct. 23, 2008

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The Eastern Washington University volleyball team moved from a four-way tie for second in the Big Sky Conference standings to a two-way tie after defeating Idaho State at home, 22-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21, on Thursday evening (Oct. 23). The Eagles and Portland State are now tied for that spot, just behind Northern Colorado.

In the match, Hayley Hills came within four of the school record for kills in a match with 30. It is also the highest total by any Big Sky Conference player in 2008, and she now holds the top four spots on that list, having posted totals of 28, 26 and 26 earlier this year.

The kill sum tied her career high, as she also had 30 last year when Idaho State paid a visit to Cheney on Sept. 15 of that year, another 3-1 Eagle win.

“Obviously, Hayley scored the ball really well,” head coach Miles Kydd said. “But she did not pass well, so she got a lot of opportunities because if we don’t pass well, we can’t run the middle. She struggled with passing and serving, but she did hit the ball hard.”

Hills received a lot of assistance from Ashley Hamilton, who had 54 assists in the contest, her third-highest total of the season.

Five Eagles had double-digit dig totals: Mandy Daniels (19), Cora Kellerman (14 – a career high for the freshman), Hills (11), Hamilton (11) and JaNae Mortensen (10).

Alysha Cook had six blocks, her second-highest total of the season, to go with 10 kills.

In set one, Idaho State (5-16, 2-7 BSC) pulled away from an 11-11 tie with a 5-0 run to go up 16-11 and hold on to the lead for the remainder of the set (Eastern did get as close as 21-20, however). In the second set, the Eagles took their turn pulling away from a tie, this time at 17, with a 6-1 run before cruising from there to a 25-21 decision.

Eastern Washington (11-9, 6-3 BSC) jumped out to a quick 10-2 advantage in set three, although the Bengals rallied back with a 16-8 run to tie the score at 18-18. That would, however, be the last time the score was tied, as EWU immediately reclaimed the lead and secured a 25-21 win.

Set four was tight throughout, but Eastern Washington pulled away at the end, utilizing a 5-1 run to snap a 20-20 tie and claim the stanza, 25-21.

“Runs were pretty much the different in all of the sets,” Kydd said.

The Eagles will now play its fourth and final contest of a four-match homestand at 7 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 25) against Weber State. The Wildcats were swept by Portland State on the road 3-0 on Thursday to fall into fifth place with a 5-4 league record, 14-9 overall (Sacramento State is in fourth at 5-3).

“Weber State is obviously an athletic team, and we need to play better against them than we did tonight,” Kydd said.

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