Eagles Open Short Big Sky Homestand with Northern Arizona

Sept. 19, 2006

Coming Up (Times Pacific; *Big Sky Conference):

·       W. Volleyball - Thursday, September 21- vs *Northern Arizona - 7:05 p.m.

·       W. Volleyball - Saturday, September 23 - vs *Northern Colorado - 7:05 p.m.


Previous Action (*Big Sky Conference):

·       W. Volleyball - Saturday, September 16 - at *Portland State - L 3-1

·       W. Volleyball - Thursday, September 14 - at *Idaho State - L 3-1

·       W. Volleyball - Tuesday, September 12 - at Gonzaga - L 2-3


Team Highlights:

·       The Eastern Washington University women's volleyball team opens its Big Sky Conference homestand Thursday (Sept. 21) against Northern Arizona University (4-7, 0-2) at Reese Court. On Saturday (Sept. 23), the Eagles will host the University of Northern Colorado (5-6, 2-0).

·       In their first eight conference matches, Eastern will play on the road for six of those. But the Eagles will play six of their last eight against the Big Sky at home.

·       The Eagles (7-4, 0-2) are looking for their first conference win of the year after losing to Idaho State (5-9, 1-1) 3-1 and Portland State (7-3, 2-0) 3-1 last week.

·       Sophomore Addie Webster led the Eagles with 14 kills in the Portland State match followed by Kerri Beck with 11. For the second straight match, senior leader Brittney Page was held to just ten kills. Mandy Daniels led the team in digs with 20.

·       In the match against Idaho State, Addie Webster led the Eagles with three service aces, 17 kills, and 12 digs. Chrystal Johnson added 13 kills for Eastern and Brittney Page had ten. Kristen Ponce led Eastern in digs with 18.

·       As a team, Eastern is leading the Big Sky in hitting at .254. The Eagles are also ranked second in opponent hitting percentage .138 and third in assists (13.68), kills (14.79) and service aces (1.87) per game.

·        In the last eight seasons, Eastern is 71-7 at home for a .910 winning percentage. Eastern has ranked in the top 30 nationally in attendance each of those seasons. In 2005, the Eagles were ranked 29th in the nation with 1,110 fans per game.

·       The Eagles have finished third or better in the Big Sky regular season each of the last 10 years and have reached the title game six-straight years. They also have had an impressive streak of five-straight seasons of winning at least 20 matches, and at least 20 wins in eight of the last nine years.

·       Eastern had won five matches in a row going into the match against Gonzaga on Sept. 12, but is currently sitting on a three-match losing streak.

·       This is the first time since 1995 that the Eagles have started the league 0-2. Eastern lost its first eight Big Sky matches that season and finished 3-11 in the Big Sky and 8-20 overall.


Individual Highlights:

·       Brittney Page leads the Big Sky in hitting percentage at .357. Also ranking in the top 10 for hitting percentage in the conference are: freshman Hayley Hills (sixth at .283), and sophomore Addie Webster (ninth at .252). Page is also third in conference for kills per game, averaging 3.84.

·       Addie Webster leads her class with 3.47 kills per game which also ranks her seventh overall in the conference. She also is tied for fifth in the conference with five double-doubles.

·       Freshman Amanda Yausie ranks seventh in the Big Sky Conference with 6.89 assists per game.

·       Kristen Ponce and Brittney Page were named to the Best Western Classic Inn All-Tournament Team in Wichita, Kan., on Aug. 26, after the Eagles defeated Syracuse, Louisiana Tech, and Texas San Antonio. Eastern lost 3-0 to Wichita State in the championship match.

·       On Aug. 29, Eastern's Brittney Page was named co-Big Sky player of the week along with Lindsay Haupt of Sacramento State. Page helped lead the Eagles to a 3-1 record in the opening week while hitting .358 with 51 kills and 13 blocks.

·       Head Coach Wade Benson entered the 2006 season with a 134-46 (.744 winning percentage) record in six seasons with the Eagles. He entered the year 68-18 (.791) in Big Sky play with three Big Sky regular season titles. In the last four seasons alone, Benson's teams had compiled a 48-8 Big Sky record.



Comments from Head Coach Wade Benson:

·       On First Home Games of the Year: "They are both big because we have started off slow. It's the first time we have been 0-2 in conference since I have been here. It is our first match at home, so we are hoping that means something to us and we can get back to our winning ways. We need to get back into the mix, and they are really big important matches for us.

·       On using both Amanda Yausie and Ashley Gandauli as Setters: "Ashley has a pretty bad ankle sprain, so we will see how that is. That is going to be a big factor as to what goes on with those two setters this week."

·       On How the Preseason Prepared Them for Conference: "I think our preseason was a little too soft for us. We played some pretty weak competition and I think that might have hurt us."

·       On Conference Race: "People should pick us fifth or sixth if they look at what we have coming back and what we lost. Where we fit in the mix is way up in the air, but we will be a tough out. Even rebuilding, I still think people will struggle with us because we have players that are used to winning and hopefully that will transfer into some wins for us."

·       On Big Sky Schedule: "It is going to be a weird schedule anyway with Northern Colorado in the league, so everything is going to be brand new in regards to where we are going and how we are going to get there. But I like having the last few matches at home and hopefully we will be good enough to make it into the Big Sky Conference Championships."




·       EWU Women's Volleyball Information - http://www.goeags.com

·       Big Sky Conference Women's Volleyball - http://www.bigskyconf.com/sport_front.asp?sportid=107

·       NCAA Women's Volleyball - http://www.ncaasports.com/volleyball/womens

Story on Former Eagle Volleyball Player Janelle Ruen, now on the AVP Beach Volleyball Tour - http://goeags.cstv.com/sp
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