Still seeking first win of season, Eastern now turns attention to conference, which begins Thursday at Sac State
In its final non-conference duel of the season, the Eastern Washington University volleyball team suffered another 3-0 setback, this time to Iowa. The Hawkeyes edged EWU, 25-22, 26-24, 25-18, on Saturday (Sept. 8) in Ames, Iowa.
With the loss, Eastern drops to 0-11 in the 2012 season. Anxious for that first win, the Eagles will open Big Sky Conference play on Thursday (Sept. 13) at Sacramento State, before returning home for their Reese Court debut the following Monday (Sept. 17) against Portland State.
After a slow start against Iowa, Eastern found some rhythm, and was able to force three competitive sets in its final match of the Iowa State Challenge.
The Eagles found themselves in an eight-point hole early in the first set, but back-to-back kills by senior Cora Kellerman gave the Eagles a lift. Eastern scored eight of the next 11 points to pull within three at 15-12. But the Hawkeyes managed to cling to that slight lead the rest of the way. The Eagles did save four set points before Iowa put it away with a kill from freshman right-side hitter Erin Radke.
The second set was a nail-biter the whole way, featuring 10 ties and four lead changes. After going back-and-forth much of the set, junior Ashley Wright hammered a kill to knot the score at 22. Consecutive blocks by the Hawkeyes gave them set-point at 24-22, but a couple of unforced errors put Eastern right back in it. Unfortunately, Iowa’s Emily Yanny and Rachael Bedell came up with two-straight kills to end it, 26-24.
In the third set, neither team was able to secure more than a three-point lead until a big kill by Iowa’s Bedell sparked a 7-0 run for the Hawkeyes. Trailing 21-14, Eastern scored four of the next six points, but it was too little too late, as Iowa won the set and match with the 25-18 decision.
Kellerman notched her third double-double of the season with a team-high 11 kills and 12 digs. Freshman Kellen Barfield had a strong outing with six kills on a .308 attack percentage and five blocks. Wright finished with four kills, four blocks and eight digs for the Eags.
Making just her second start since returning from injury, senior setter Laney Brown registered her first double-double of the year with 30 assists and 10 digs.
Eastern had six service aces in the match, compared to three for Iowa, but EWU also made nine errors from behind the line, while the Hawkeyes committed just two. The Eagles out-blocked Iowa by one with a total of six team blocks.