In the midst of a road-filled month-long stretch, Eastern Washington plays only two home matches of that span this weekend
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team commences the second half of its Big Sky Conference slate this weekend in a three-way tie for first place in the league standings with Portland State and Northern Colorado. All three teams are 6-2 in Big Sky play, while the Eagles are 12-7 overall.
To start off this portion of the schedule, Eastern Washington will play host to Weber State and Idaho State at 7 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 23) and Saturday (Oct. 24), respectively. Over the weekend, the Eagles fell to Northern Arizona 3-2 before knocking off UNC 3-1 to create that three-way stalemate at the top of the standings.
There was a pair of statistical rarities in those two matches.
Chenoa Coviare had 12 blocks in the NAU contest, the most by any Eagle since Keva Sonderen had that total against Weber State on Nov. 9, 2002.
Then Ashley Hamilton had the first triple-double by an Eagle in seven years, as that incredible feat was last accomplished on Sept. 14, 2002, by Janelle Ruen against George Washington in Boise, Idaho. Hamilton had 43 assists to go with 11 kills and 14 digs. She also hit at an outstanding .526 clip (11-1-19).
Weber State (5-15, 3-5 BSC) will ride a two-match winning streak into Friday's match, most recently beating Seattle University 3-0 and Idaho State 3-1. The Eagles swept the Wildcats 3-0 in the team's meeting on the WSU campus on Sept. 26, their fifth-straight win over Weber State.
Idaho State (9-11, 3-5 BSC) went 1-2 last week, defeating Seattle 3-0 and falling to WSU as well as Utah Valley in five. The Eagles took a 3-2 thriller that went down the wire (fifth set was 15-13) in Pocatello, Idaho, on Sept. 25. That win was the second-consecutive for Eastern against the Bengals.
Dig Deep for Pink!
The Eagles are playing host to a "Dig Deep for Pink" evening on Friday (Oct. 23) in the contest versus Weber State. At the match, there will be information on breast cancer and what can be done to help combat it.
Also, players, families and friends, as well as those involved with EWU's Health, Wellness & Prevention Services office, have been raising money on campus and will continue to do so leading up to Friday evening.
The money that is raised will be presented to the Susan G. Komen foundation.
Fans who wear pink to Friday's match will receive free entry.
Hamilton has 1st Triple-Double in 7 Years
Senior setter Ashley Hamilton had an outstanding match on Saturday (Oct. 17) in helping the Eagles to a 3-1 road win over Northern Colorado, who had entered the match in sole possession of first place and ended it tied for the top spot with the Eagles as well as Portland State.
In that contest, she recorded the first triple-double accomplished by an Eagle in seven years. Hamilton had 43 assists, 11 kills and 14 digs in the contest. The Alpine, Utah, native also hit at a very high percentage with just one attack error in 19 attempts, .526 (11-1-19).
Janelle Ruen had Eastern's last triple-double, when she contributed 10 kills, 10 assists and 14 digs to a 3-0 win over George Washington on Sept. 14, 2002, in Boise, Idaho.
In fact, Hamilton had an impressive week, hitting at a .577 clip (16-1-26) to go with 9.67 assists, 2.22 digs and 0.67 blocks per set in Eastern's two matches against the Bears and Northern Arizona.
Hills in Second on Career Kills List
Senior outside hitter Hayley Hills has climbed into the second spot on Eastern Washington's career kills list, as she now has 1,304. Her total only trails the school record of 1,860, set by Kim Exner (1995-98).
Hills is also currently second in school history in kills per set, embedded into that slot with a 3.88 average. Holding the record is Exner (4.43), while in third is Juli Argotow (3.42).
Hills earned her 1,000th kill in a 3-1 win at Sacramento State on Nov. 21 of last year. That gained her entry to the 1,000-kill club, becoming the eighth Eagle in history to reach that pinnacle.
Following her impressive performance in wins over Montana and Montana State on Sept. 18 and 19, respectively, Hills was named the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week.
Those two matches, she averaged 4.71 kills and 3.14 digs per set in helping the Eagles to 3-1 and 3-0 respective wins over the Grizzlies and Bobcats.
In the Montana State match, she had 21 kills, especially impressive considering the match went just three sets. It is tied for the 13th-most by a Big Sky player in a match of any length so far this year and is the highest total attained in a three-set contest.
Hills also earned POW honors on four occasions a year ago.
Big Sky Championship in Cheney
After claiming the Big Sky Conference's regular-season title in 2008, the Eagles earned the right to play host to the 2009 Tournament.
The semifinals will take place at 5 and 7 p.m. on Nov. 27, while the title contest will take place at 7 the following evening.
The winner of that match will earn the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, which starts the following weekend.
Petroni Rides 33-Digs to POW Honors
After tallying 57 career digs leading into the final week of September, sophomore libero Lindsey Petroni nearly doubled that total with 47 in two matches in helping the Eagles to 3-1 wins over Idaho and Sacramento State on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, respectively.
She was then rewarded for her outstanding performances with Big Sky Conference Co-Player of the Week accolades. In doing so, Petroni became the first defensive-focused player in Eastern Washington history to ever earn the award.
Most notably, she tallied 33 digs in the Idaho contest, a total that tied for the seventh-highest total in school history. In fact, it tied for the second-most in school annals in a match less than five sets long. That feat earned her the 17th spot in Eastern's 30-dig club.
Her dig total in that match is also tied for the fifth-most by any NCAA Division I player this year in a contest four sets or fewer (most recent national statistics are through matches played on Oct. 12). It is also the most by any Big Sky player so far in 2009 in a match that did not go the maximum five sets and just one off the highest five-set sum.
The Spokane, Wash., native then followed that up with a solid 14-dig performance in the Big Sky win over the Hornets two days later. For the week, Petroni averaged 5.88 digs per set. She also contributed seven assists and two service aces in the two matches.
Incredibly, every single one of her 57 career digs leading into the UI match had come away from home.
Petroni shared the week's award with Idaho State's Emily Waldron.
Hamilton Named Big Sky POW
Senior setter Ashley Hamilton was an all-around offensive force in helping the Eagles to a pair of road victories from Sept. 25-26.
She helped lead the team to its best hitting percentage of the season (and second-best by any Big Sky team so far in 2009), .390, in a 3-0 sweep of Weber State after setting the team to a dramatic comeback from 2-0 down at Idaho State in a 3-2 win.
Individually, the Alpine, Utah, native averaged 12.25 assists per set, but also was an intimidating offensive threat herself, as she hit at a .600 clip in the two road matches (14-2-20). Defensively, she was solid, averaging 2.50 digs and 0.62 blocks per set in the two contests.
In the five-set win in Pocatello, Hamilton had 55 assists, her highest total of the season and the eighth-highest total by a Big Sky player in 2009. Hamilton hit .500 (8-2-12) that night. She also did the job defensively, as her 14 digs that night was a career high for the setter.
Hamilton had 43 assists in the sweep of the Wildcats, which is a very impressive number for a match just three sets long. It actually comes out to a higher assists-per-set ratio then she achieved the night before (14.33 versus 11.00). She also hit at a .750 clip (6-0-8) in that WSU match.
The award is the first for Hamilton.
Eagles Rank Nationally in Attendance
The Eastern Washington Eagles have earned the attention of the greater Spokane area and it has shown, as the team is averaging 956 fans per contest, an average that ranks the squad 42nd in the country.
EWU ranks ninth among all West Coast teams (i.e. those located within the Pacific Time Zone).
The highlight of the home schedule came on Oct. 9 when 1,440 saw the Eagles take on Portland State in a first-versus-second battle. That crowd was the largest for a home contest since Sept. 23, 2006, when 1,484 saw Eastern take on Northern Colorado.
The Eagles have ranked in the top 40 in attendance in 11 of the past 12 years.
Eastern Washington has won 14-of-15 contests at Reese Court.
Comeback From 2-0 Down
The Eastern Washington Eagles went into the locker rooms in their match at Idaho State on Sept. 25 down 25-17, 25-21, but rallied to complete an impressive 3-2 victory with 25-21, 25-17, 15-13 set victories.
The rally from 2-0 down was the first for head coach Miles Kydd since he took over the Eagles at the beginning of the 2008 campaign and was the initial one for the EWU program since a 25-30, 23-30, 30-18, 30-19, 15-10 victory over Colgate on Aug. 31, 2007.
Busy First Month for Eagles
The Eagles played some pretty impressive competition the first three weeks of the season, including three teams currently ranked in the top 25, each on its home courts.
To conclude the pre-conference portion of the schedule, the Eagles played well in a trip to the Bay Area with its two defeats coming to a pair of teams who are either nationally ranked or receiving votes for the top-25 poll.
Following a couple tight sets in a 25-13, 25-23, 29-27 road loss to Saint Mary's, who is now 12-4 and receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll, the Eagles rallied to beat San Jose State 21-25, 25-22, 26-24, 25-20.
Eastern then took 19-12 and 18-12 leads in the first and third sets, respectively, before falling on the road to California, currently ranked 15th, by 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 scores.
The previous weekend, EWU defeated opponents from Conference USA (Houston) and the Western Athletic Conference (Nevada) by 3-1 scores before battling No. 16 Arizona, the host of the Marriott University Park Wildcat Classic, in an exciting four-set affair the undefeated Wildcats took 3-1.
The Eagles opened their season on Aug. 28 with a 3-1 defeat of Missouri State. The Bears had played in the 2008 NCAA Tournament and are receiving top-25 votes, as well. Eastern's two losses that weekend came to teams that played in the 2008 NCAAs, No. 12 Oregon and San Francisco.
Coviare Named to All-Oregon Classic Team
Chenoa Coviare had an outstanding opening weekend for the Eagles and was rewarded for her efforts with All-Oregon Classic accolades.
In the three matches played from Aug. 28-29, she hit .365 (25-6-52) and contributed 1.20 blocks and 0.70 digs per set.
Coviare helped Eastern to a 3-1 win over Missouri State and tough-fought losses to No. 12 Oregon and San Francisco.
Coviare and Hamilton Named All-Tourney
For the second weekend in a row, Chenoa Coviare was named to an all-tournament team, this time at the Marriott University Park Wildcat Classic. She was joined on the squad by Ashley Hamilton.
Coviare had 2.25 kills and 0.83 blocks per set in Eastern's three matches at the tournament.
Arizona transfer Hamilton played well in her old stomping grounds, averaging 6.58 assists per set and hitting at a .296 clip (12-4-27).
The talented duo helped the Eagles to an impressive 2-1 showing at the tournament, which included 3-1 wins over Houston and Nevada and a good showing in a 3-1 loss to host and currently No. 16 Arizona.
Coviare and Hills Earn Tourney Honors
After helping the Eagles to a second-place showing at the Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic, Chenoa Coviare and Hayley Hills earned All-Tournament honors.
In the two matches, a 3-1 win over San Jose State and a 3-0 loss to host and 15th-ranked California, Coviare hit at a .343 clip (19-7-35) to go with 1.43 blocks per set.
Hills had a team-high 3.00 kills per set. She also contributed 2.14 digs and 0.29 blocks per set.
Against SJSU, Coviare had 12 kills and hit .455 (14-4-22), while Hills contributed 14 digs.
Versus the Golden Bears, Hills tallied 13 kills and hit .290 (13-4-31), while Coviare had three blocks.
Eagles Beat 2008 NCAA Participant
The Eagles started off their 2009 campaign on a high note, outlasting Missouri State 25-22, 25-20, 17-25, 25-21 at the Oregon Classic on Aug. 28.
The win was especially impressive, as the Bears played in the 2008 NCAA Tournament and are receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll.
Eastern Washington controlled the first two sets and then had to battle back from significant deficits in the third and fourth sets.
The Eagles did so successfully in set four, rallying from 5-0 and 10-3 deficits and then pulling away from a 21-21 tie with the final four points of the contest.