For the first time in six years, Eagles will play a match at home before conference begins
Not since 2004 has the Eastern Washington University women's volleyball had the privilege of playing at Reese Court before the start of the Big Sky Conference season. Well, that drought will end in the upcoming 2011 campaign. Head coach Miles Kydd has released his 2011 lineup, and it includes a game in Cheney against Boise State on Aug. 31.
"It is great to be able to play an early-season match at home," expressed Kydd. "We've only done it once since I have been at Eastern, so I'm glad the team has an opportunity this year to play in front of a familiar crowd before the crucial conference season begins."
Prior to the home match against BSU, Eastern will play a trio of matches on the west side of the state as part of a season-opening tourney in Seattle, Wash. The Eags will face two familiar in-state rivals in Seattle and Washington State, as well as West Coast Conference school Santa Clara.
Continuing its preparation for conference play, Eastern has two more tournaments lined up in early September. The Red and White will travel to Tucson, Ariz., for the Lodge on the Desert Wildcat Classic Sept. 2-3, and then head to Las Vegas, Nev., for a tourney at UNLV Sept. 9-10.
While in Sin City, Eastern will face host-school UNLV, Cal State Northridge, and future Big Sky member Southern Utah.
"We will see a really good mix of mid-to-high level teams in our early-season tournaments," said Kydd. "With this lineup, we feel we can go in and be competitive in every match."
"Arizona is a strong team from the Pac-10 Conference, but they have a lot of freshmen on their roster this year, so we are confident with the matchup," added Kydd. "Both of the California schools we play (Santa Clara, CSUN) should be a nice challenge, and then we will also have an opportunity to preview one of our future conference opponents in Southern Utah. So we are definitely excited about the lineup."
Eastern will play four of its first six Big Sky matches at home in Cheney, Wash., including the conference openers against Weber State and Idaho State on Sept. 16 and 17, respectively. Eastern beat the Wildcats and Bengals at home during the 2010 season.
The first conference road matches for EWU are at Montana State (Sept. 23) and Montana (Sept. 24), both of which are teams Eastern split the season series with last year.
The Eags will play four-consecutive matches on the road during the month of October, before closing out the year with back-to-back weekends at home. Eastern plays Portland State on Nov. 12, and then hosts Sac State for Senior Night at Reese Court on Nov. 18.
The 2011 Big Sky Conference Championship is scheduled for Nov. 25-26 in Portland, Ore., as the Vikings won the regular-season title a year ago.