Eagles Get Back on Winning Track, Beat Montana State

Nov. 1, 2008

Box Score

The Eastern Washington University volleyball team responded well to a first-set loss to defeat Montana State in a Big Sky Conference match in Bozeman on Saturday night (Nov. 1) by 19-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-9 scores. The win allowed the team to rebound from a 3-0 road loss to Montana two days earlier which snapped a six-match winning streak.

The win kept the Eagles in third place in the Big Sky standings at 8-4, just behind second-place Portland State (9-3) and first-place Northern Colorado (9-2). The Eagles play UNC on Saturday (Nov. 8) in its final home match of the season.

In tonight's contest, Hayley Hills once again had a high kill total, as the junior outside hitter tallied 26 putaways and hit .333 (26-7-57). She now has the five highest kill totals posted by a Big Sky player in 2008. Tonight's total ties for the third spot on that list.

Ashley Hamilton had a good night, contributing 45 assists and hitting .600 (6-0-10) in the match. She also had seven digs. The team leader in digs today was Mandy Daniels with 19, while JaNae Mortensen had 12 and Hills and Cora Kellerman tallied 10 apiece. Chenoa Coviare had 11 kills in the match.

In the first set, Montana State (3-19, 0-12 BSC) played at a level that belied their now 32-match Big Sky losing streak by claiming a 25-19 victory. The Bobcats pulled away from a 17-17 tie to outscore EWU 8-2 the rest of the way.

However, Eastern Washington improved its play throughout the match. The Eagles went up 16-8 in set two and kept MSU at bay for a 25-19 win. Set three saw EWU pull away from an 18-17 edge to go on a 7-1 run to win 25-18. Then Eastern Washington dominated in set four, taking a 12-1 lead on its way to a 25-9 win, its largest margin of victory in a set this year.

"We got progressively better as the match went on," head coach Miles Kydd said. "We played better defense; we blocked better.

"It is always important to get a road conference win and we can still finish .500 on the road in conference play this year (currently 2-4 with two road matches left). And we still have a chance to get into the top two (and earn a bye into the Big Sky semifinals).

The Eagles now return home for their final two home matches of 2008.

First up is Northern Arizona (13-6, 5-5 BSC entering a match with Sacramento State on Saturday). That contest begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 6). The Eagles then host Northern Colorado, which currently sits in first place at 9-2 in Big Sky matches, 15-5 overall, at 7 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 8).

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