Nov. 15, 2008
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team dominated Portland State on the road, 25-19, 25-21, 25-15, to tie the Vikings for first place in the Big Sky Conference with one match to play, at Sacramento State for both rivals.
The win clinched a top-two seed for the Eagles and a bye into the Big Sky semifinals. Eastern (16-10, 11-4 BSC) holds all tiebreaker scenarios with both Portland State (18-7, 11-4 BSC) as well as Northern Colorado, who lost 3-1 to Weber State tonight to fall to 16-8, 10-5 in league contests.
"We are excited to get the win, but we don't feel we are done," head coach Miles Kydd said. "We still have work to go."
Eastern takes on Sacramento State (9-21, 7-7 BSC) at 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 21), while Portland State heads to California's capital city to face the Hornets 24 hours later. Meanwhile, Northern Colorado finishes its schedule with a home match versus Northern Arizona (14-10, 6-9 BSC) at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday.
However, an Eastern victory over the Hornets clinches the No. 1 seed for the Eagles regardless of the results of the other league matches next weekend.
As a team, the Eagles out-dug Portland State, a team that entered the match ranked 10th among all NCAA Division I teams in digs per set with 17.49, by an impressive 63-45 count.
Mandy Daniels had 24 digs tonight, an incredible total for a three-set match. In fact, it was the highest three-set dig total attained by an Eagle since Daniels had 24 at Sacramento State on Oct. 15, 2007. Jacque Brown also played very well in the back row, as she contributed 17 digs to Eastern's win.
Chenoa Coviare had seven blocks in the contest, another high total considering the match went just three sets, while both Ashley Hamilton and Allison Reinstein contributed four apiece.
On the offensive end, Hayley Hills led all players with 18 kills, while Alysha Cook had 11 putaways. Hamilton tallied 30 assists, and Amanda Yausie had 11 helpers.
"Tonight it was not just one player, but the whole team doing it," Kydd said. "We are getting contributions from everybody. Overall we blocked well, served well and played good defense."
The Eagles set the tone in the match late in the first set when a 7-0 run turned a narrow 18-17 deficit into a commanding 24-18 advantage on their way to the 25-19 win. The second set was similar, as Eastern pulled away from a tight 17-16 edge with a 7-4 run to put some space between the teams before claiming a 25-21 victory.
In the final stanza, Eastern Washington was up just 14-13, but dominated the rest of the way by scoring 11 of the final 13 points of the set. The Eagles finished on a 6-0 run.
The only other times Portland State was swept this year came at the hands of Pacific-10 Conference opponents Oregon State and Washington.
The Eagles close out the 2008 regular-season schedule with that match at Sacramento State at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Big Sky Championship will be hosted by Portland State, by virtue of its 2007 regular-season title, from Nov. 28-29. If the Eagles do claim the No. 1 seed at this year's event, EWU will play host to the 2009 Championship.