Nov. 29, 2008
In front of a loud, intense crowd on both sides, the Eastern Washington University volleyball team fell to host Portland State in the Big Sky Conference’s championship match by 25-22, 25-16, 21-25, 25-21 scores on Saturday evening (Nov. 29). The match was filled with long, dramatic rallies on both sides.
Mandy Daniels and Hayley Hills were named to the All-Big Sky Championship team.
Portland State jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the first set, but the Eagles rallied with six straight points, taking a 9-7 advantage on an Allison Reinstein service ace. The teams then stayed within three points the rest of the stanza. Portland State ended up holding the final three-point lead at 25-22.
In set two, Portland State was out-blocking Eastern Washington 7-1 mid-way through the set to take control with a 13-8 advantage. Following an EWU timeout, the Eagles started battling back and got to within three at 16-13 before the Vikings pulled away again with five straight points to go up 21-13 before cruising to a 25-16 win.
After the break between sets 2-3, the Eagles came out of the locker room determined to not let their season end quietly and battled back from an early 8-5 deficit to tie it at 8-all. The teams were also stalemated at 9, 11, 12 and 13 before Eastern scored three straight points to go up 15-13. Portland State, however, rallied right back to tie the score 15-15.
After the teams tied at 16-16, Eastern grabbed an 18-16 advantage. Following the Vikings tying it once again 18-18, the Eagles scored the next four points to take a commanding, late 22-18 advantage. Portland State, however, was not done and rallied to within two at 23-21 before EWU put it away with two straight points, 25-21. Eastern held Portland State to a -.049 hitting percentage in that stanza (8-10-41).
The fourth set saw the Vikings burst out to a 5-1 lead before the Eagles responded to pull to within one at 6-5 and 7-6. Portland State then went on a 7-2 spurt to take a 14-8 advantage and appeared to be cruising to the win before Eastern responded to a 22-15 deficit with a dramatic 6-2 run to cut it to 24-21 before the Vikings claimed the title.
Senior Daniels had 29 digs, her fourth-highest total of the year, in her final collegiate match. Leading the team in kills tonight was Hills with 16 and Chelsea Ross with 12. Ashley Hamilton had 42 assists. Hills also had 15 digs tonight, and Ross had 12.
“It’s a somber mood in the locker room,” head coach Miles Kydd said following the match. “Portland State played good defense and blocked well tonight.”
The Eagles finished the season 18-11 and won the Big Sky’s outright regular-season title with a 12-4 record. The team finished the campaign on a hot streak, having won 12 of its last 14 contests. Eastern Washington will play host to the 2009 Big Sky Championship by virtue of its regular-season title this year.