Eagles Embark on Second Half of Big Sky Season
Eastern looks to even conference record with two road wins at Weber State and Idaho State
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team will begin the second chapter of its 2010 Big Sky Conference season when it travels to Weber State and Idaho State on Friday (Oct. 22) and Saturday (Oct. 23), respectively.
After eight competitive matches, the Eagles own a 3-5 record in the BSC, which puts the team in a three-way tie for sixth place. Montana State and Northern Arizona are the other two schools with a 3-5 mark in league play, while Sacramento State and Idaho State are tied for the No. 4 spot with an even 4-4 record. Montana is third at 5-3 and Northern Colorado and Portland State share the top spot in the standings with a 7-1 BSC record.
In its most recent outings, Eastern split a pair of matches on its home court. The team swept Northern Arizona before dropping a five-set heartbreaker to Northern Colorado. Senior Chenoa Coviare had a season-high 17 kills in the match against the Bears, while junior Lindsey Petroni tied her season-high in digs with 32.
Although the Eagles have a good chance at evening their conference record this weekend, as they have already beat WSU and ISU this season, the team is more concerned with its lot on the road.
"We can't get carried away with the records," said Kydd. "Our only focus right now is Weber State. We have to get a road win before we worry about anything else."
The Eagles are 0-4 in BSC road matches, and have only recorded one victory away from Reese Court in total this season.
However, Eastern has had recent success on the road against both the Wildcats and Bengals. Last year, the team swept the Wildcats on their home court and outlasted Idaho State in marathon match at Reed Gym. In fact, in the past five seasons, the Eagles have a combined 7-3 record in games played in Ogden and Pocatello.
Eastern is especially strong against its first opponent this weekend. The team not dropped a road match to Weber State since the 2005 season, but earlier this year, when the two teams met at Reese Court, the Wildcats took Eastern to five sets. The Eagles came out on top in the match after a superior effort in the fourth and fifth sets. Coviare was pivotal in the win, as she recorded 12 kills and six blocks, while senior Jacque Brown turned in one of her best performances of the year, tallying 12 kills, 16 digs and two service aces.
In Eastern's first meeting of the season with Idaho State, the team topped the Bengals in four sets. Coviare had 11 kills and 10 blocks in that contest, while senior Alysha Cook contributed 13 kills on an impressive .444 efficiency.
"Having seen everyone in the conference now, we feel there is no one that is untouchable," said Kydd. "If you look at the standings and then look at where we rank statistically in most categories, they don't match. As a coaching staff, we believe we are right there in the mix. I think we a have a lot to look forward to, but it starts with a road win at Weber."
Eagle News & Notes
Coviare Climbs Blocking Chart – After earning 144 total blocks last season, Chenoa Coviare became the fifth-leading blocker in Eastern history. Last weekend in Eastern's home matches against Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado, Coviare moved up to No. 4 on the EWU all-time career blocks list. She now has 441 total in her career, including 74 already this season. She has tallied five or more blocks in five of the team's last seven matches, which includes her season-best of 11 at Sacramento State (Oct. 1). Coviare has had at least 100+ blocks every season since her first year on the court with the Eagles in 2007.
Key in Conference: Hit .200 – When analyzing the stats from the first eight games of Eastern's 2010 conference season, there seems to be one glaring difference between those matches won and those lost. When the team hits above .200, they win. When they hit below, they lose. In Eastern's first two victories of the season, the team averaged a .252 attack percentage. They recorded 53 kills and only 18 errors against Idaho State, and then followed that performance with 59 kills and 22 errors in their five-set victory over Weber State. Against Northern Arizona, the Eagles hit .228, which included 45 kills and only 16 errors on 127 total attempts. In the five games they've lost, the team has averaged a .124 efficiency.
Eagles Excel in Conference Play – After the first half of the 2010 Big Sky season, the Eagles are statistically among the top five teams in the league in sixth different categories. The team ranks second overall in blocks (2.61/set), fourth in opponent hitting percentage (.174) and digs (16.18/set) and fifth in assists (11.48/set), kills(12.24) and hitting percentage (.180). Individually, Chenoa Coviare is second in blocks (1.45/set) and hitting percentage (.379), while ranking ninth in points (3.59/set) and 10th in kills (2.79/set). Senior Alysha Cook is seventh in the blocking category with 1.04 per set, while Lindsey Petroni is third in digs with 4.94 per set. Sophomore Laney Brown ranks seventh among setters with a 6.27 assists per set average. Currently, the Eagles are in a three-way tie for sixth in the BSC standings with a 3-5 record.
Eagles Turn in Top Performances in BSC – Despite a less than favorable overall record to date (4-14), the EWU volleyball team has had several stellar individual performances that are among the top of the Big Sky Conference's "match highs." Senior Alysha Cook recorded a career-high 29 kills versus Montana (Sept. 17), which ranks third in the BSC for most kills in a match this season. Cook also ranks third in points scored in a single match, as she tallied 32.5 total in the five-set battle in Missoula. Senior Chenoa Coviare turned in the second-best blocking performance in the Big Sky with her 11 blocks in Eastern's narrow loss to Sacramento State (Oct. 1). In the other defensive category, Lindsey Petroni's 32 pickups against Montana (Sept. 17) and Northern Colorado (Oct. 16) are tied for the top mark in the BSC. Setters Lindsay Niemeier and Laney Brown rank second and fourth on the assists match high list, with Niemeier recording 57 against Montana (Sept. 17) and Brown 52 versus Seattle (Aug. 28).
Reinstein is Eastern's Scholar Athlete of the Month for September - Allison Reinstein was selected by the Eastern athletics department as its female Scholar-Athlete for the month of September. Reinstein, a native of Livermore, Calif., is pursuing a degree in visual communication design with a minor in business administration. Having just starter her senior year, Reinstein is on track to graduate after the Fall 2010 term, at which point she will enter graduate school at Eastern. Reinstein holds a cumulative GPA of 3.73 and has been named to the Academic All-Big Sky team for three consecutive years. The senior middle blocker has started 17 of Eastern's 18 contests in the 2010 campaign, and ranks second on the squad in attack percentage (.246) and second in total blocks (46). She has tallied 105 kills thus far in the season, and leads the team in service aces with 12. She has scored 141 total points for the Eagles, which is the third most for any player on the roster.
Coviare Lays Claim to Weekly Conference Honors – Senior Chenoa Coviare was rewarded for her stellar performances in Eastern's home openers versus Idaho State and Weber State, as she was tabbed as the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week on Sept. 27. The senior from Medford, Ore., played a pivotal role in helping EWU capture its first two victories of the 2010 Big Sky season, and its first wins since the team's first game of the 2010 campaign. In the two games played at Reese Court on Sept. 24 and 25, Coviare recorded a stunning .477 attack percentage with 23 total kills and only two errors in her 47 attempts. She was the only Eagle to hit above .400 on both nights, and averaged 2.56 kills per set in the nine sets she played. In addition to her offensive prowess, Coviare led the team at the net with 16 total blocks. She scored 31.5 total points, which was the most for any player on the squad. She earned her first double-double of the season in Eastern's 3-1 victory against Idaho State, as she recorded 11 kills and 10 blocks. Coviare's first block against the Bengals was the 400th of her career. In the dramatic five-set match against Weber State, Coviare had 12 kills and a team-leading six blocks, four of which came in the crucial fourth and fifth sets. She scored five of the first seven points for Eastern in the rubber game, after she rattled off three quick kills and back-to-back blocks. She also contributed three digs in that match. Head Coach Miles Kydd on Coviare: "I think Chenoa and Whitney Phillips of Portland State are the two most dominant athletes in our conference. Chenoa has the athletic ability to change a match, which is exactly what she did in our home matches against Idaho State and Weber Stat. If you look at the tape from those contests, there are stretches in the fourth game of both matches where she completely took over. The opposition could not get a ball by her. She is a great player. Determined and talented."
Cook Makes Statement in Missoula – Senior right-side hitter Alysha Cook earned a new career record when she hammered 29 kills in Eastern's Big Sky opener against Montana on Sept. 17. Her previous career-high for kills was 19, which she recorded against Northern Colorado back in 2007. The Kennewick, Wash., native led all hitters in the match in Missoula, as she committed only four errors in her 51 attempts for a stunning .431 attack percentage. She also contributed a team-leading seven blocks, and also set a new career-record in digs with seven. Cook, who had to sit out the first six matches of the 2010 season due to injury, returned to the lineup on Sept. 9 when EWU faced the Cougars of Washington State.
Double-Double Trouble - So far this season, five different Eagles have recorded double-doubles. Sophomore Shelby Puckett has tallied four in the 2010 campaign. She tallied a season-high 21 kills and 19 digs against Seattle (Aug. 28), and then recorded a double-double in back-to-back outings on Sept. 10, as she had 13 kills and 11 digs versus Cal Poly and 12 kills and 13 digs at Idaho. In Eastern's Big Sky opener versus Montana (Sept. 17), Puckett recorded 11 kills and 18 digs. Jacque Brown tallied back-to-back double-doubles in the Treasure State, as she had 10 kills and 13 digs versus Montana (Sept. 17) and 10 kills and 12 digs against Montana State (Sept. 19). She nabbed her third double-double of the season in Eastern's five-set victory over Weber State (Sept. 25), as she had 12 kills and a season-high 16 digs. Senior Chenoa Coviare and redshirt-freshman Lindsay Niemeier has accomplished the feat twice this year. Coviare tallied 11 kills and 10 blocks in Eastern's home opener versus Idaho State (Sept. 24) and had 15 kills and a season-high 11 blocks in EWU's four-set battle with Sacramento State (Oct1. 1). Niemeier picked up 17 assists and 13 digs versus Mercer (Aug. 27) and 22 assists and 10 digs versus Cal Poly (Sept. 10). Laney Brown has also earned one double-double this season when she recorded 52 assists and 11 digs in the five-set thriller at Seattle (Aug. 28) and Coviare
Coviare Recognized for Strong Play in Pullman - Chenoa Coviare was named to the Nike Cougar Challenge All-Tournament Team for her efforts against Washington State and Cal Poly on Sept. 9 and 10, respectively. The senior from Medford, Ore., recorded 15 kills and six blocks in the two games played in Pullman, Wash. Coviare led the Eagles in the matchup with the Cougars, recording an impressive .350 attack percentage (10-3-20). She also picked up one block and one service ace in the exciting three-set match. As a team, Eastern tallied a season-high 10 blocks against the Cal Poly Mustangs, four of which came at the hands of Coviare. Coviare currently leads the team in blocks this season with 61 total. She averages 1.05 blocks per set, which ranks fourth in the Big Sky Conference.
Reinstein Named to All-Tournament Team - EWU senior middle blocker Allison Reinstein was one of six elite athletes named to the Pepperdine Asics Classic All-Tournament Team, announced Sept. 4 by the tournament officials. She recorded the best attack percentage on the Eagle squad at .219 (12-5-32), while also leading the team at the net with five total blocks. She averaged 1.33 kills per set over the weekend, and tallied three service aces. In total, Reinstein scored 18 points for her team, which was the second-best overall effort for an Eagle at the tournament in Malibu. Reinstein's overall season attack percentage of .257 (95-36-230) is the best on the squad, while ranking eighth in the Big Sky Conference.
Eagles Endure Stringent Schedule - Of the nine opponents appearing on Eastern's pre-Big Sky schedule, five of them had or are still appearing in AVCA Top 25 poll. In the Eagles first weekend of 2010 season, they faced one of the top 10 programs in the nation in Washington. The Huskies were ranked No. 8 at the time, and defeated EWU 3-0 (25-13, 25-15, 25-13). At the Pepperdine Asics Classic, Eastern faced three teams who were all receiving votes in the second AVCA Top 25 poll of the season, released Sept. 6. At the Nike Cougar Challenge Tournament, EWU played Washington State, who earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament last season and Cal Poly, who received 31 votes in the Sept. 6 poll.
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.
Live Coverage of the Eags
If you are unable to cheer on the Eagles courtside, be sure to plant yourself in front of a computer, as all of Eastern Washington's Big Sky Conference matches will be available to view, free of charge, at www.bigskytv.org, including this weekend's matches versus Weber State and Idaho State. In fact, you may watch any contest hosted by a Big Sky team throughout the season, not only in volleyball, but also in football and men's and women's basketball. You may also keep up to date on the Eagles at www.goeags.com, where news releases, rosters, schedules and statistics for all 14 EWU varsity athletics teams may be found. Live stats for all volleyball matches are also available via www.goeags.com (click the link within the volleyball schedule page).