Eastern to face Missouri, Pepperdine and Rice in Malibu, Calif.
The Eastern Washington University volleyball squad will hit the road for the second weekend in a row, as it travels to Malibu, Calif., for the Pepperdine Asics Classic. The Eagles will open competition versus an undefeated Missouri team on Friday (Sept. 3) at 4:30 p.m. before battling host-school Pepperdine and 2009 Conference USA tournament champion Rice on Saturday (Sept. 4) at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.
“This tournament is going to be a good challenge for us,” said EWU head volleyball coach Miles Kydd. “Traditionally, teams from larger schools and larger conferences, like the Big 12 and C-USA, are considered better than us, but there is so little crossover, who really knows? These are the exact matches we need to play in order to prove we belong. We know we have the ability to beat teams like Missouri and Rice, so it is important to schedule these matches and then make sure we come out aggressive and execute our game plan.”
The Eagles and Tigers have met only once in history and that was during the 1985 season when Missouri topped Eastern 3-1 at the Houston Invitational. Eastern will look to even the score after the 25-year hiatus.
Eastern’s matches on Saturday against Pepperdine and Rice will also mark just the second meeting in history with both teams. The last time the Eagles and Waves met was in the 2003 season when Pepperdine blanked EWU 3-0 in Malibu, Calif. The Owls and Eagles faced off in 1992, with Rice taking the match 3-1 on its home court.
The Eagles are coming off a challenging tournament in Seattle, Wash., in which they swept thier first opponent (Mercer), but dropped their following two matches against Seattle and the No. 8 team in the country, Washington. Eastern took Seattle to five sets, but was unable to close out the match after coming back from a five-point deficit to tie the score at 13-13 in the fifth.
Sophomore Shelby Puckett led the Eagles over the weekend, hitting a .317 clip (36-10-82). She recorded three career highs in the match against Seattle with her 21 kills, 19 digs and four assists. Senior Chenoa Coviare was also solid for the Eagles, as she led the team to victory against Mercer, collecting 15 kills and five blocks. Coviare also had five blocks against Seattle, as well as 12 kills. She currently ranks third in the Big Sky Conference in blocks with 1.18 per set.
All of Eastern’s matches at Pepperdine Asics Classic can be followed via live stats. Just go to www.goeags.com and click the live stats link within the volleyball schedule! The Eagles match against host-school Pepperdine will also be available to watch via a live video feed at http://www.pepperdinesports.com/allaccess/
Scouting the Opposition
-- Missouri, who was receiving votes in the latest AVCA Top 25 poll, comes to Malibu with a perfect 3-0 record, as it won the Tiger Invitational last weekend in Columbia, Mo. The Tigers swept Maryland, Nevada and Utah Valley to become one of only three schools in the Big 12 Conference with an undefeated record and one of only two Big 12 teams to not drop a single set in their first three matches.
-- Freshman setter Molly Kreklow was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week after leading the Tigers to victory at the Tiger Invitational. She was also named tournament MVP after tallying 109 assists, with a league-leading 12.11 assists per set average.
-- Mizzou currently leads the Big 12 in kills per set (15.33) and assists per set (14.33), while ranking second in hitting percentage (.326).
-- MU had four players record 20 or more kills in its opening weekend. Senior Paola Ampudia led the way with 32, while freshman Lisa Henning tallied 31. Senior Julianna Klein had 26 and junior Brittney Brimmage chipped in 22.
-- Similar to Eastern’s 2010 debut, Pepperdine opened its season with one win and two losses, one of which was to a team ranked among the Top 10 in the nation. The Waves fell to New Mexico (3-0) and No. 4 Stanford (3-1), before sweeping Tulane (3-0) in its final match of the MCM Elegante Lobo Classic in Albuquerque, N.M.
-- Pepperdine had three players tally 20 or more kills over the weekend, including senior Kim Hill who rattled off 39. Sophomore Victoria Adelhelm contributed 26 and junior Lilla Friedman recorded 21. Defensively, the Waves were led by sophomore Brittney Clark, who had 13 blocks. Her 1.62 blocks per set average leads the West Coast Conference.
-- The Waves are coached by former UCLA standout Nina Mattheis. Mattheis has been head coach at Pepperdine for 28 years, tallying an overall record of 510-305.
-- Rice will enter the Pepperdine Asics Classic with a 2-1 record. The Owls defeated Texas Tech (3-0) and UTSA (3-2), before falling to Ole Miss (0-3) last weekend at the Rice Invitational I in Houston, Texas.
-- Rice returns four starters from its 2009 team that won the Conference USA tournament title and advanced to the NCAA first round. Of those returning starters, junior Ashleigh McCord poses the biggest threat, as she led the team in each of the three matches last weekend, tallying 45 total kills, with a 4.09 kills per set average.
-- The Owls currently rank in the top five in the C-USA in three different categories, including kills (13.36/set), assists (12.27/set) and digs (15.73/set).
Coviare Chases Record - So far in her career, Chenoa Coviare has tallied 380 total blocks, which ranks fifth on EWU’s all-time records list. Last season alone, she recorded a team-leading 144 blocks, which was the fourth-best single-season performance in program history. If Chenoa can continue on that track during her senior year, she will become the all-time leading blocker in Eastern history. Last weekend at The Invitational at Seattle, Wash., she recorded 13 blocks in three matches -- she now needs only 127 blocks to nab the record outright!
Freshmen Force - Last weekend at The Invitational at Seattle, Wash., Eastern’s lineup featured five players who had never played in a collegiate volleyball match. Redshirt-freshmen Lindsay Niemeier and Ashley Wright and true freshmen Tyler Calles, Celeste Crosby and Esther Warren all saw action in at least two matches in Seattle. Niemeier was the starting setter against Mercer, tallying 17 assists and 13 digs. Wright recorded 15 kills and five blocks over the weekend, while Warren chipped in five kills and two blocks. On the defensive end, Calles picked up six total digs for the Eagles.
Three Eags Earn Double-Doubles - So far this season, three different Eagle volleyball players have recorded double-doubles. Redshirt-freshman Lindsay Niemeier was the first to accomplish the feat when she tallied 17 assists and 13 digs against Mercer on Aug. 27. Sophomores Laney Brown and Shelby Puckett notched their double-double the following day against Seattle. Brown had a career-high 52 assists and 11 digs in the contest, while Puckett recorded a career-high 21 kills and 19 digs. Puckett also had four assists in that match for her third career high mark of the day. Niemeier, Brown and Puckett are three of seventeen players in the Big Sky Conference who have earned double doubles thus far in 2010.
Eastern Picked Fourth in BSC Preseason Poll - For the third-straight year, the Eastern Washington volleyball squad was ranked among the top four teams in the Big Sky Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Eastern was picked fourth this season, behind co-favorites Portland State and Montana, and 2009 BSC Tournament Champion Northern Colorado, who came in third in the voting. EWU has made 14 consecutive appearances in the BSC tournament, including two title runs in 1989 and 2001. Last year, the team tied for second overall in the regular season with a record of 12-4.
Eagles Honored by AVCA - EWU earned the America Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award for its triumphs in the classroom during the 2009-10 school year. The AVCA Team Academic Award honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that display excellence in the classroom during the year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 team GPA on a 5.0 scale. Head coach Miles Kydd’s team compiled an impressive 3.54 cumulative GPA during the 2009-10 academic year. In addition to the national recognition, the Eags also distinguished themselves in the Big Sky Conference, as 11 members were named to the 2009 BSC All-Academic team; the most for any volleyball squad in the league.