Following the first two home contests of the 2009 season, the Eastern Washington Eagles head on the road to face ISU, WSU
Fresh off of a pair of Big Sky Conference victories, the Eastern Washington University volleyball team will bring a 2-0 league mark on the road. The Eagles face Idaho State and Weber State at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday (Sept. 25) and Saturday (Sept. 26), respectively.
The Eagles opened up Big Sky play with home wins over Montana and Montana State on Friday and Saturday (Sept. 18 and 19), respectively. Eastern topped the Grizzlies, 25-20, 25-20, 16-25, 25-13, while the Eagles were victorious over MSU by 25-14, 25-21, 25-17 scores.
Hayley Hills was among a group of Eagles who played impressively over the weekend and she was rewarded for her efforts with Big Sky Player of the Week accolades, her first of the season. In the two matches, she averaged 4.71 kills and 3.14 digs per set.
Combined with playing well against a challenging non-conference slate of matches, the Eagles will bring a 6-5 record into this weekend's contests. Eastern is 2-0 in conference play, in a three-way tie for first place in the league standings with Northern Colorado and Portland State.
After getting off to a hot 4-1 start, Idaho State has cooled down and will bring a 5-6 record into the contest. Over the weekend, the Bengals took an impressive 3-1 road win over Northern Arizona before falling to Northern Colorado by the same score.
Last year when the teams met in Pocatello, the Bengals took a surprise 25-19, 25-19, 28-26 win over the Eagles. Idaho State would finish eighth in the nine-team league, while the Eagles claimed the regular-season crown with a 12-4 record.
When the teams met in Cheney later that year, EWU was victorious, 22-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21.
Weber State is looking to turn around a rough season up to this point, as the Wildcats are 1-11 heading into a home match with Portland State on Friday. Most recently, WSU fell to Northern Colorado 3-0 and Northern Arizona 3-1. The team's lone win so far in 2009 came over Gonzaga, 3-2.
Even though the Eagles have won four straight meetings with the Wildcats, two of those matches went four sets and one went five. The squads last met in the 2008 Big Sky quarterfinals, which saw Eastern eliminate the Wildcats, 25-18, 25-18, 25-23.
Hills Up to Fourth in Kills Chart
Senior outside hitter Hayley Hills keeps climbing Eastern Washington's all-time kills chart. With 33 over the weekend (4.71 per set), she pushed her career total to 1,185, good for fourth place on the illustrious list.
Next, in third place, is Kellie Glaus, who had 1,217 from 1992-95. In second is Janelle Ruen (1,268 from 1999-2002), while Kim Exner (1995-98) holds the school mark of 1,860.
Hills is also currently second in school history in kills per set, embedded into that slot with a 3.91 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.
Following her impressive performance this past weekend in wins over Montana and Montana State, Hills was named the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week.
Busy First Month for Eagles
The Eastern Washington Eagles played some pretty impressive competition the first three weeks of the season, including three teams currently ranked in the top 25, each of them on their home courts.
Most recently, 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 7-3 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 12th, 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. 19 Arizona (11-0), the host of the Marriott University Park Wildcat Classic, in an exciting four-set affair that 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 currently 9-4 with their other losses coming to No. 12 Oregon, Indiana and Ohio. Eastern's two losses that weekend came to two other teams that played in the NCAAs a year ago, the Ducks 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 Arizona, who is 6-0 and just entered the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll at No. 25.
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 13th-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 per set as well as 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 had received 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.
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.
Big Sky Preseason Poll
In the Big Sky Coaches Preseason Poll, defending Big Sky Tournament champion Portland State, who finished just behind the Eagles in the regular-season standings a year ago, was picked first. The Vikings were followed, in order, by Eastern Washington, Northern Colorado, Montana, Weber State, Sacramento State, Northern Arizona, Idaho State and Montana State.