Eagles Sweep Portland State, Set Up Title Showdown on Friday

Nov. 10, 2007

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With a convincing 30-24, 30-25, 30-25 sweep of first-place Portland State in an intense Big Sky Conference volleyball match on Saturday (Nov. 10), the Eagles set up a championship showdown with Sacramento State on Friday (Nov. 16). A win against the Hornets would clinch Eastern a share of the league title.

"Who would have thought that the way we started (1-9 overall)," interim head coach Irene Matlock said. "This team has progressed so much over the course of the year. It's fun to watch."

The Eagles have now won eight straight matches, their longest winning streak since running off 10 straight from Oct. 22-Nov. 22, 2004. Eastern has also won 13-of-17 contests.

The current league standings see Sacramento State in first at 12-2, followed by both Portland State and EWU at 12-3. The Hornets and PSU will play each other next Saturday (Nov. 17).

Alysha Cook had an impressive night against the Vikings, as she had 15 kills and hit .353 (15-3-34).

"She has really come along, and she was on tonight," Matlock said.

Hayley Hills led the squad in kills with 16, while Jacque Brown had 11 putaways while hitting at a .333 clip (11-3-24). Ashley Hamilton had 44 assists on the evening.

Allison Reinstein was a blocking force tonight, as she had 10 put downs. That total ties for the second-highest posted by an Eagle this year. Mandy Daniels continued being a stable in the back court, as she had 20 digs, while three different Eagles tallied nine each: Hamilton, Hills and Kristen Ponce.

Game one was like a sandwich, as Eastern (14-13) led the first and final parts, while Portland State had the advantage in the middle. The Vikings (19-7) had their first lead at 11-10 and kept that advantage until the Eagles tied it at 15 and went ahead 19-15 on the strength of a 6-0 run. After Portland State cut its deficit to just two at 24-22, Eastern pulled away with a clutch 4-0 run.

The Eagles went out big in game two, 9-3. Although Portland State came to within five at 20-15, EWU then went on a 4-0 run to put space between the teams. The Vikings tried to rally late but 26-22 was too much of a deficit for PSU, as the Eagles pulled away from there for their game victory.

Portland State then took control of game three, going up 5-1 and 10-5. That did not last, however, as the Eagles responded to that latter deficit by scoring six straight points and taking an 11-10 lead. Even though Eastern Washington was not able to go up by more than five the rest of the way, the Eagles never lost their lead either and won, 30-25. A Ponce service ace completed Eastern's win.

The regular season concludes for the Eagles with that match against Sacramento State on Friday. First serve is set for 7 p.m. Ponce is the lone senior on the Eagle roster and will be playing her final match at Reese Court.

The league tournament will be contested in Sacramento, Calif., from Nov. 23-24. The Hornets earned that right by virtue of claiming last year's regular-season title (a change in the format from previous years). The tournament remains a six-team affair. This year's No. 1 seed will host the 2008 Big Sky Championship.

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