Balanced Offensive Attack Leads Volleyball To Sweep Of Seattle

Five players had at least five kills as the Eagles had their best offensive peformance of the young season, hitting .333 as a team

A balanced offensive attack led the Eastern Washington women's volleyball team to a sweep of Seattle Monday night at the Connolly Center in Seattle, Wash.

EWU's second straight win evens its record at 2-2 on the year while the loss drops Seattle's record to 2-2.

Sophomore Allie Schumacher paced the Eagles with 10 kills, hitting .500 for the match (10-1-18). Juniors Talia Fermantez and Melissa Waelter added seven kills apiece while classmate Kelsey Julian and sophomore Allison Doerpinghaus each contributed five kills.

EWU had its best offensive performance of the young season, hitting .333 (38-11-81) as six Eagles hit better than .250 on the night. Doerpinghaus was a perfect 1.000 (5-0-5) while Julian hit .417 (5-0-12) and Fermantez hit .400 (7-3-10).

Freshman Sophie Miller went for a season-high 17 assists while senior Lindsay Niemeier added 13 helpers. Sophomore Ryann Ensrud led the team with 14 digs.

"We put together a complete, high-level match tonight," head coach Wade Benson said. "Everyone played a role tonight, from the starters who played very well to the non-starters who gave our team great energy. This was a true team win."

The first set was a back-and-forth affair early as neither team was able to gain much separation. A kill from Schumacher tied the match at 6-6 and ignited a run of three straight points for the Eagles. The hosts stopped Eastern's run with a kill from Sarah Jaeckel, but a kill from Doerpinghaus forced Seattle to call its first timeout down 10-7. EWU would extend its lead to five, 13-8, on a kill from Waelter, but the Redhawks battled back to pull to within two, 16-14, forcing Eastern to take a timeout. Seattle cut Eastern's advantage to one, 17-16, but the Eagles responded with an 8-2 run to claim the first set.

The Eagles raced out to a 5-3 lead early in the second set only to see Seattle answer with a run to gain an 8-7 advantage. The Redhawks extended their lead to two, 14-12, forcing Benson to call a timeout. The hosts went up by three out of the break, but Eastern answered by winning six of the next nine points to take a 19-18 lead late in the set. An attack error from Seattle gave EWU a 21-19 lead, causing the hosts to take a timeout, but the Redhawks were unable to gain momentum as Eastern extended its lead to three, 23-20, before winning the second set on a kill from Fermantez.

Like the second set, Eastern controlled things in the early going, taking a 6-3 lead on a kill from Schumacher. Seattle responded with a run that saw the hosts gain a 13-12 advantage midway through the frame. The Eagles answered by winning three of the next four points to regain a lead it would never relinquish. A kill from junior Stanka Panic gave EWU an 18-15 lead, and the two teams traded points the rest of the way as Eastern won the decisive set.

EWU outblocked its opponent for the fourth time in as many tries this season, notching 17 blocks to the Redhawks' 13. Fermantez and Doerpinghaus led the way with five blocks apiece.

Seattle got 13 kills from both Martina Samadan and Iris Ivanis. Kerry Lane tallied 30 assists for the Redhawks.

Eastern continues its road swing with three matches as part of the Cougar Challenge in Pullman, Wash., this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6-7. The Eagles open with host Washington State at 12:30 p.m. on Friday before facing South Dakota State at 6 p.m. that night. EWU concludes its stay in Pullman with a tilt against Texas Tech set for 6 p.m. Saturday.

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