Junior captain Cora Kellerman has career day, as Eastern takes down Washington State in five
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team opened the second day of the Seattle University Fall Volley with a sensational victory over rival Washington State at the Connolly Center in Seattle, Wash. Behind double-double performances by juniors Cora Kellerman and Shelby Puckett, the Eagles took down WSU in five thrilling sets (22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 20-25, 15-8).
After the win against the Cougs, Eastern had to immediately take on Santa Clara in its third match of the tournament. Considering the lack of rest, Eastern put up an honest fight, but the Broncos managed to defeat the Eagles in straight sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-18).
Eastern dropped the first set against Washington State, but rebounded well, as it won the second in dominating fashion. EWU registered 16 kills with only three errors, while holding the Cougs to a dismal .094 hitting percentage. The third set was a tighter battle between the two teams from the Eastside, but a slight 14-11 advantage in kills, 15-10 edge in digs and four service aces was enough to give the Eags a 25-20 victory.
In the fourth set, neither team could build more than a three-point lead before giving up a sideout. With the score knotted at 18-18, Eastern committed a service error, which sparked a 7-2 run for the Cougs to close out the set and even the match at two sets apiece.
Washington State scored the first two points of the fifth set, but back-to-back kills by Kellerman shifted the momentum back in Eastern's favor. A couple of service aces and three more kills from the team captain gave Eastern a valuable 10-7 lead.
WSU's Megan Ganzer notched one of her game-high 26 kills to pull the Cougs within two at 10-8, but that would be it for the team in Crimson and Gray. Senior Chenoa Rossi-Childress tallied back-to-back kills to set up match point for EWU. On the final play, the ball was set to Ganzer, but Childress and freshman Kelsey Julian denied her attempt with a stuff block to end the marathon match.
"We competed extremely hard today," praised EWU head coach Miles Kydd. "You could see in our faces we wanted the win, and we were not going to back down. Washington State is a quality opponent, and anytime you can get a win against a Pac-12 opponent is a great day for our program."
Kellerman led the Eagles with a career-high 20 kills and 17 digs. Six of her team-high 20 kills came in the decisive fifth set.
"Cora did a phenomenal job of leading our team," said Kydd. "She took over the game offensively. She was aggressive and determined. It was great to see her feisty spirit."
Puckett also had a double-double of 11 kills and 14 digs. Rossi-Childress tied her career-high of 12 kills on an impressive .450 hitting percentage. She also added seven blocks for the Eags.
Julian had eight blocks to go along with four digs and three kills, while sophomore Ashley Wright added eight kills, three digs and two blocks.
Along with Kellerman and Puckett, EWU sophomore setter Lindsay Niemeier also registered a double-double with 29 assists and 13 digs. Her counterpart, junior Laney Brown, added 19 assists and seven digs.
Senior libero Amy VanderWel picked up 10 digs for the red and white.
The Eagles out-blocked WSU 12-4 and had nine service aces in the five-set match.
After taking down WSU, it was a quick turnaround for the Eags, as the team had just 30 minutes to recuperate before taking the court for its matchup with Santa Clara.
The Broncos tallied 50 kills, compared to 22 for EWU. Eastern did have four more blocks than Santa Clara, and had a 4-2 edge in service aces, but the discrepancy in offense was too much for EWU to overcome.
The Eagles will return to action on Wednesday (Aug. 31) as they host Boise State in the 2011 home opener at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash. Eastern has not had the privilege of playing at home before the start of conference since the 2004 season.