Sophomore Allie Schumacher led the Eagles with 11 kills, hitting .300 (11-2-30) against the top-ranked team in the nation
Ending its nonconference slate against the top-ranked team in the nation, the Eastern Washington women's volleyball team lost a tough three-set battle to No. 1 USC Saturday, Sept. 14, as part of the USD Tournament in San Diego, Calif.
The Eagles drop to 3-8 on the year while USC improves to 8-1 with the win. Set scores for the match were: 12-25, 23-25, 21-25.
Senior setter Lindsay Niemeier led EWU with 19 assists and nine digs, nearly missing out on her third double-double of the year. Schumacher was right behind her with eight digs.
The Trojans raced out to a 4-0 lead early in the first set, but a block from sophomore Allison Doerpinghaus and Niemeier, coupled with an attack error, brought the Eagles to within two, 4-2. USC responded with a 10-2 run to take a commanding ten-point lead that was too much for Eastern to overcome.
The second set was a back-and-forth affair early as neither team was able to gain much separation. The two squads traded leads early, but a service ace from sophomore Ryann Ensrud gave EWU a 9-8 lead that junior Milica Nisavic extended to two points on a kill on the following play. Eastern went up three, 13-10, on a service error from the Trojans, but USC would bounce back to take an 18-15 lead on a kill from Alexis Olgard. A kill from Curtis, along with an attack error, evened the score at 22-22 but the Trojans scored three of the final four points to take the second set.
The Eagles took control of the third set in the early going, using three kills from Schumacher to open up a 5-1 lead. USC took its first lead of the set on a kill from Olgard, going ahead 9-8, but the Eagles would win six of the next nine points to take a 14-12 lead midway through the set. An attack error from Doerpinghaus gave the Trojans an 18-17 lead, but she answered with a kill to knot things up at 18-18. USC scored the next three points to take its largest lead of the set, but consecutive points from EWU brought the Eagles to within one late in the frame. The Trojans would put away four of the next five points, however, claiming the set and the match.
Elise Ruddins paced USC with 14 kills while Samantha Bricio added 12 kills.
USC hit .336 for the match while Eastern swung at a .165 clip. The two squads both recorded 10 blocks.
Eastern is home for the first time in 2013 next week, hosting Sacramento State in a Big Sky counter Thursday, Sept. 19. The match is set for 6 p.m.