Comeback Attempt Falls Short As Eastern Drops Five-Set Thriller

Despite a valiant comeback attempt, the Eastern Washington women's volleyball team dropped a five-set match to South Dakota Friday, Sept. 6, at the Cougar Challenge in Pullman, Wash.

EWU falls to 2-4 on the year while the Coyotes improve to 4-2 with the win. Set scores for the match were: 23-25, 24-26, 25-23, 25-18, 8-15.

Sophomore Allie Schumacher led the Eagles with 19 kills and 12 digs, recording her first double-double of the season. Junior Melissa Waelter contributed 13 kills while freshman Kylie Curtis added eight kills.

Senior Lindsay Niemeier set a season high with 35 assists. Sophomore libero Ryann Ensrud tallied 12 digs. Sophomore Allison Doerpinghaus set a new career high with three service aces.

Eastern led through a majority of the first set but was unable to put away South Dakota. The Eagles took their largest lead of the set on a kill from junior Talia Fermantez, going up 13-10, but the Coyotes answered with an 8-4 run to gain a one-point advantage, 18-17, as the set neared its end. EWU would tie it at 19-19 but USD rallied to extend its margin to three, 24-21, on a kill from Sydney Dimke. The Eagles won the next two points to pull back to within one, but Amber Aschoff but away a kill, winning the first set for the Coyotes.

South Dakota controlled much of the second set, going up three, 9-6, on an attack error from freshman Chloe Watson. The Eagles responded with four straight points, punctuated by a kill from senior Ashley Wright, to take a 10-9 lead. The Coyotes answered with a run of its own, winning eight of the next 13 points to go up four, 18-14, late in the set. They would extend their lead to five, 24-19, on an attack error from Fermantez, but Eastern managed to stave off set point five times and tie the match at 24-24. USD put a stop to the Eagles' comeback, winning the next two points and the set.

EWU ran out to a five-point lead early in the third set, taking a 7-2 advantage on a service ace from sophomore Allison Doerpinghaus. The Eagles would go up seven, 13-6, on a kill from Doerpinghaus, but South Dakota slowly started to crawl back, cutting Eastern's advantage to four, 20-16, on a service ace from Dimke. The Coyotes managed to come all the way back to lead, 23-22, on an attack error from freshman Kylie Curtis, but EWU won three straight points to win the set as Doerpinghaus put away another ace to extend the match.

The Eagles came out of the gates hot, jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead. South Dakota would battle back to take a 7-5 lead on an attack error from Curtis, but Eastern quickly regained control, taking a 10-9 lead on a kill from Wright. EWU extended its lead to seven, 18-11, on a kill from Schumacher, and would lead comfortably the rest of the way en route to claiming the set.

South Dakota led from the start in the fifth set, but a service ace from Watson tied things at 4-4 early in the frame. The Coyotes regained the lead on an attack error from Fermantez, and would extend its lead to five, 12-7, on a kill from Kendall Kritenbrink. Eastern cut it to four, 12-8, on a kill from Schumacher, but USD would win the final three points, winning the set and the match.

Kritenbrink led all players with 21 kills while Kelsey Biltoft added 12 kills. As a team, South Dakota hit .177 (53-27-147), and were helped by 14 service errors from Eastern.

The Eagles wrap up their stay in Pullman with a match versus Texas Tech tomorrow night at 6 p.m.

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