Eastern wins hard-fought second set, but can't come up with victory on the road
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team recorded a season-high 15 blocks, including three solo blocks by senior Chenoa Coviare, but it was not enough to stop Big Sky Conference foe Sacramento State, as the Hornets topped Eastern 3-1 (25-14, 25-27, 25-17, 25-22) on Friday (Oct. 1) in Sacramento, Calif. The Eagles fall to 3-11 on the season and 2-3 in BSC action, while the Hornets improve to 8-10 overall and 1-2 in league play.
After falling 25-14 in the first set, the Eagles battled to even the score at 1-1 heading into the break. The second set featured nine ties and three lead changes, but Eastern managed to come out on top (27-25) after forcing Sac State to record a dismal .069 attack percentage. In the third set, Eastern was only able to tally seven total kills, compared to 12 for the Hornets, which allowed the home team to take a 2-1 set advantage with a 25-17 victory in the third.
Much like the second, the fourth set was a back-and-forth affair that saw eight ties and four lead changes, but Sac State's Janelle Currey came up with two decisive kills at the end of the match to give the Hornets their first conference victory of the season.
"We struggled with our passing, which makes it difficult to create opportunities for our hitters," said EWU head coach Miles Kydd. "You're not going to win a match with only six or seven kills per set. We competed hard in the second set, but on tough nights, we need to do a better job of exerting the effort it takes overcome obstacles."
Coviare, who was recently tabbed as the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week, led the Eagles with 15 kills and a season-high 11 blocks. Coviare committed only three errors in her 31 attempts for a team-leading .389 attack percentage. For the ninth time this season, junior Lindsey Petroni recorded double-digit digs, as the Spokane, Wash., native picked up 20 total in the four-set match. Senior Jacque Brown was also busy in the back court, as she had 15 pickups, while also contributing six kills.
Eight different Eagles recorded one or more blocks in the match, including senior Allison Reinstein, who had five total. The Livermore, Calif., native also contributed five kills, three digs and one service ace. Sophomore Laney Brown and redshirt-freshman Lindsay Niemeier split the setting duties, with Niemeier recording 21 assists and Brown with 15.
The Hornets had three players earn double digit kills, including Currey, who led all hitters with 18. Eryn Kirby tallied 17, while Kayla Beal chipped in 11.
Eastern will return to Cheney for its next contest, as it takes on non-conference foe Seattle on Monday (Oct. 4) at 7 p.m. on Reese Court.