November 3, 2007

Eagles Win in Five to Stay Within Sight of Regular-Season Title

Nov. 3, 2007

Box Score

The Eastern Washington University volleyball team rallied for another comeback win on Saturday (Nov. 3), outlasting Northern Colorado 34-36, 30-23, 25-30, 30-26, 15-11. With its eighth comeback win of the season, Eastern not only moved its record in five-game matches to 6-0, but kept a regular-season Big Sky Conference championship within its control.

Eastern is now 11-3 in Big Sky play and sits in a virtual tie with Sacramento State (10-2 BSC) for second place with both teams chasing Portland State (12-2 BSC) for the regular-season title.

The Eagles play host to PSU and Sacramento State in its final two league matches of the season on Nov. 10 and 16, respectively, while Portland State hosts the Hornets on the final day of the league's regular season schedule, Nov. 17. Wins in its final two conference matches would ensure Eastern at least a tie for the regular-season title.

"We're in a great situation," interim head coach Irene Matlock said. "We're on a high from our wins and gaining confidence and improving, especially defensively. Portland State and Sacramento State will see a different team from us (than in Eastern's first meetings with those teams), and our home crowd advantage is a seventh player for us."

The Eagles (12-13) also moved its current winning streak to six, their longest of the season and the team's longest since running off six straight from Nov. 2-17, 2006.

Eastern has now rallied from a games deficit eight times this year, which is an incredible amount when you consider that the Eagles did so just 19 times (out of 114 wins) over the past five seasons combined, an average of 3.8 per season.

"Sweeping this road trip is always good," Matlock said. "This is a tough trip. UNC had some incredible crushes on the outside we couldn't stop, but we prevailed and that says a lot about our team. We really stood out tonight in the backcourt, really putting in second and third efforts, especially in the third, fourth and fifth games."

Hayley Hills led Eastern Washington in kills tonight with 22. Freshman Alysha Cook had 19 to tie her career high, which was originally set in Eastern's home contest with Northern Colorado on Sept. 27. Jacque Brown had 16 putaways, a new career high for the freshman, as she beat out her 11 earned against Montana State on Oct. 27.

Ashley Hamilton's 55 assists is an Eagle season high in 2007 and the most by an Eastern player since Amanda Yausie had 55 against Montana State on Oct. 5, 2006. Tonight, Yausie contributed eight assists, and the team as a whole had 73, the most tallied since the Eagles had 79 versus Sacramento State on Oct. 28, 2006.

Chenoa Coviare had the second-highest block total by an Eagle in 2007, as she had 10 tonight (Allison Reinstein had 11 against UNC on Sept. 27). Hamilton had seven blocks to more than double her previous Eagle career high of three.

Five Eagles had double-digit dig totals in tonight's contest: Mandy Daniels (22), JaNae Mortensen (14), Hills (13), Kristen Ponce (13) and Hamilton (10). Coviare contributed three service aces, as well.

In game one, Northern Colorado (8-18, 6-7 BSC) dramatically rallied from a 29-26 deficit to tie the contest, 29-29, before prevailing 36-34. The Bears staved off eight Eagle game points to take a 1-0 games lead in the match.

Eastern took a 27-19 edge in the second game on its way to a 30-23 win. Game three saw the UNC pull away from a 22-22 tie to go up 28-24 on its way to a 30-25 win. Eastern Washington then broke away from a 24-all tie for a 29-25 edge in the fourth game before winning 30-26 to force a fifth and deciding stanza.

A 9-4 advantage in the fifth game proved to be too much for Northern Colorado, and Eastern prevailed 15-11.

Before returning to Big Sky play, the Eagles will play host to Boise State at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 8). The Broncos won its Senior Day match tonight 30-23, 30-23, 30-26 over Louisiana Tech to move to 5-20, 2-13 in Western Athletic Conference play.

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