With Backs to the Wall, Eagles Enact Another Comeback
Nov. 23, 2007
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team won an intense match at the Big Sky Conference Championship on Friday morning (Nov. 23), outlasting Kim Babcock and Northern Arizona 32-30, 28-30, 28-30, 30-18, 15-11. Babcock tied the Big Sky Tournament record with 35 kills but her try for 36 was blocked by Alysha Cook and Allison Reinstein and earned Eastern a match point at 14-11 in game five.
The Eagles now move on to the semifinal round and will take on host Sacramento State (26-7) at 7:30 p.m. The two rivals had met in the championship match seven straight years. This will mark the eighth straight year they will meet in a tournament contest.
The win continued an incredible season the Eagles have had, as Eastern rallied from a games deficit for the ninth time and also moved to 7-0 in five-game matches. That perfect record in matches to go the limit is especially incredible for a number of reasons. The seven wins ties for the most Eastern has ever had in five-game matches (1989 and 1990), and the only time EWU ever finished undefeated in five-gamers came when the 2002 team went 3-0 in contests to go the limit.
Chenoa Coviare set a personal record for kills with 21 and hit .500 in the match (21-3-36). Hayley Hills had 23 putaways in the contest, while three other players also posted double-digit kill totals: Cook (15), Jacque Brown (14) and Allison Reinstein (11). Reinstein's kill total is a personal high.
Both Ashley Hamilton and Amanda Yausie each had 37 assists in the contest. Leading the way in digs was Mandy Daniels, as she had 15. The block leader was Coviare with five, while Cook contributed four.
The sixth seed, Northern Arizona (12-15) had control of game one right until the end when the Eagles snapped victory away from the grips of defeat. Eastern Washington's largest lead of the entire game was two while NAU went up by as many as five tallies at 22-17. Eastern staved off three game points and rallied from a 29-26 deficit with a timely 6-1 run.
Game two was more of the same, as the largest lead by either team was NAU's at five (12-7 and 13-8). Additionally, third-seeded Eastern (15-14) was never up by more than two in the stanza. This time, however, Northern Arizona put away the Eagles by a 30-28 score to tie the match at one game apiece.
The third game once again saw Northern Arizona hold a lead throughout the majority of the stanza. The Lumberjacks had their largest lead of five at 10-5 and 11-6, while Eastern held a three-point edge at 19-16 on the strength of an 8-2 run. After four straight NAU points gave the Lumberjacks a 20-19 lead, the Eagles never regained an advantage.
Game four was all Eastern's, as the Eagles dominated from the beginning. A 12-4 EWU lead was extended to as many as 13 late on four different occasions before Eastern Washington completed a 30-18 win.
Eastern Washington led all of game five (except for a 2-2 tie) and outlasted Northern Arizona to finish off the incredible match with its 15-11 win.
The other quarterfinal match this morning saw the No. 4 seed, Weber State (16-12), topple fifth-seeded Northern Colorado (10-20) by 30-24, 30-26, 31-29 scores. The Wildcats will now play top-seeded Portland State (20-7) at 5:30 p.m. in the other semifinal tonight.