Eastern wraps up tough pre-conference slate 4-5, open Big Sky play at home on Friday
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team came out firing on all cylinders in hostile territory versus No. 13 California, but twice were victims of dramatic Cal comebacks in a 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 road loss to the powerful Golden Bears on Friday evening (Sept. 11).
Eastern went up 19-12 in the first set only to see Cal outscore EWU 13-3 the rest of the way and take a 25-22 win. In the third set, the Eagles jumped out to an 18-12 lead, but the Golden Bears then went on a timely 12-1 run to go up 24-19 on its way to a 25-20 win.
"We played well and had an opportunity to win the first and third sets, but couldn't finish," head coach Miles Kydd said. "Obviously Cal is a good team and we appreciate that we are competing with teams like Cal, but we are not happy. We want to beat those teams."
In that opening set, Cal actually took early control by going up 4-0 before the Eagles rallied to tie the score 5-5. The teams then stayed within two points until the Eagles pulled away from a 9-9 tie to go up 15-11 and 19-12.
In the middle stanza, Cal held the lead the entire way with the exception of an early 4-2 EWU advantage. However, the Eagles kept within striking distance throughout and were within three late at 21-18 before Cal pulled away for a 25-19 win.
After the break, California (4-3) took an early 2-1 lead, but it was all Eastern Washington from that point until the Golden Bears went on their late, match-breaking, 12-1 run.
Ashley Hamilton was on fire offensively tonight, hitting at a .875 clip (7-0-8). Sara Todorovich also hit impressively, .357 (6-1-14), while Hayley Hills set the team pace in kills with 13 and hit .290 (13-4-31). Hamilton contributed 25 assists to Eastern's efforts.
Defensively, Todorovich had five blocks to lead all players, while Chenoa Coviare contributed three. Lindsey Petroni set the team pace in digs with 14.
The match was Eastern's second and final one at the Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic, hosted by Cal. The tournament concludes on Saturday (Sept. 12) with the Golden Bears hosting San Jose State, who Eastern defeated earlier on Friday, 3-1.
With a tremendous pre-conference schedule in the rear-view mirror, the Eagles (4-5) now look ahead to the commencement of Big Sky Conference play. First up are visits from Montana and Montana State at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Montana is 4-5 and host Arizona State on Saturday, while Montana State is 1-6 and play Bradley and UTEP in Peoria, Ill, that same day. The Bobcats will open Big Sky play at Portland State on Friday prior to making the trip to Cheney.