Eagles Have Best Performance in Spring Finale
Under new head coach Wade Benson, Eagles were “solid” in scrimmage Saturday as spring season concludes
Under the direction of new head coach Wade Benson, the Eastern Washington University volleyball team enjoyed its best performance of the spring at a scrimmage Saturday (April 27) at the EWU Sports and Recreation Center. The scrimmage concluded the spring season for the Eagles.
Assistant coach and former Eagle standout Janelle Allen (formerly Ruen) saw improvement from a team that had spent the previous month practicing and competing against other local colleges.
“We are about four weeks in, and this was by far our most solid performance all-around,” she said. “We are gelling as a team. Front row and back row are playing well together. Everybody is working well together, and it was very impressive.
“We thought they improved their overall energy and consistency,” she added. “It was a good way to end the spring season.”
Allen came away impressed by several players, including setter Lindsay Niemeier.
“All the girls played really well,” Allen explained. “Lindsay is coming off a knee injury from last season, and she has been learning a new, faster system. She has been doing really well and is a solid player. Our liberos had stellar ball control. All the girls look more confident all around.”
Benson returns for his second stint as EWU’s head coach, after helping lead EWU to one NCAA Tournament berth, three Big Sky regular season titles and one Big Sky Tournament championship. He had an impressive record of 154-55 (.737) from 2000-06, and his Big Sky record during that time of 78-24 (.765) still ranks among the top four in conference history.
The Eagles return 10 letterwinners, including four starters, from last year’s squad which finished 5-26 overall and 5-15 in the Big Sky Conference. Last Saturday the Eagles showed progress under the new regime.
“At our first scrimmage, we had Washington State and Idaho here, and we were working through some things,” Allen explained. “Our second week, we struggled a little bit more because we were trying to figure out a new system. But we were making big improvements last week.”
Allen even saw improvement from the night before when Eastern took on Idaho in a rematch from earlier this spring.
“We did some really good things against them,” she explained. “Our serve receive and defense went well.”