Eastern Downs Mercer in Season Opener, 3-0

Middle blockers shine in Eastern’s first victory of 2010

Behind the strong hitting of Chenoa Coviare and consistent serving from Allison Reinstein, the Eastern Washington University Eagles topped Mercer 3-0 (26-24, 28-26, 25-13) in their first of three matches at The Invitational at Seattle, Wash.

The Mercer Bears could not find an answer for Coviare, as the senior from Medford, Ore., tallied 15 kills and only four errors in her 25 attempts. She also contributed five blocks to Eastern’s defensive effort.

“Our middles played really well today,” commended EWU head coach Miles Kydd. “Based on what we knew about Mercer, we felt we could do well in the middle and I was pleased with our ability to execute that game plan.”

Eastern controlled the pace for much of the first set until the Bears managed to claw their way back at 22-22. A kill by redshirt-freshman Ashley Wright and service ace from redshirt-freshman Lindsay Neimeier forced Mercer to call a timeout, as it was facing set point at 24-22. The Bears came up with a big kill out of the timeout, but it was not enough, as Eastern nabbed the first set 26-24.

Behind the solid serving of Reinstein, the Eagles opened the second set on an eight-point run. Mercer was able to knot the score at 15-15, but Coviare then hammered three consecutive kills to give Eastern a three-point advantage at 20-17. The two teams then traded points before another kill by Coviare and an attack error by the Bears gave EWU a hard-fought 28-26 win.

The third set started much like the second, as Reinstein served eight-straight points to put the Eagles up 9-1. With Eastern enjoying an eight-point advantage at 18-10, Reinstein stepped back to the service line, where she again, rattled off four-straight points for the Red and White. EWU took the third set with an easy 25-13 decision.

“I was proud of the team for finishing strong in the third set," said Kydd. "We still have some kinks to work out in terms of ball control and discipline, but it's really nice to open the season with a win."

Reinstein tied her career-high in service aces with four, while also contributing four kills and four digs. Senior captain Jacque Brown and Neimeier led the Eagles on defense, as Brown picked up 14 digs and Neimeier followed with 13. Neimeier also contributed 17 assists in her first official match with the Eagles.

Eastern will continue play at The Invitational at Seattle, Wash., when they take on the Redhawks of Seattle University on Saturday (Aug. 28) at 11 a.m. To view live stats of the match, go to www.goeags.com and click the link within the volleyball schedule page.

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