Facing a tough test in its first road Big Sky match of the season, the Eastern Washington women's volleyball team fell in three sets to preseason No. 1 Portland State in Portland, Ore., Monday, Sept. 23.
Eastern drops to 4-9 and 1-1 in the Big Sky while PSU improves to 5-7 and 2-0 in league play with the win. Set scores for the match were: 17-25, 19-25, 15-25. The victory also gives the Vikings an early leg up in the Dam Cup standings, earning two points with the win.
EWU raced out to an early 3-0 lead punctuated by a service ace from sophomore Ryann Ensrud, but the Vikings rallied to take a 6-4 lead on a kill from Cheyne Corrado. The Eagles would keep it close, using an attack error from the Vikings to come within two, 9-7, but Benson was forced to call a timeout as PSU took a 16-9 lead on another kill from Corrado midway through the frame. Eastern cut the hosts deficit to one, 17-16, after a series of tough serves from Schumacher but would get no closer as Portland State scored eight of the next nine points to take the first set.
The second set was a back-and-forth affair early as neither team was able to gain much separation. PSU led by two early but a kill from senior Ashley Wright gave the Eagles a slim 8-7 advantage. After the hosts retook the lead, 11-10, freshman Kylie Curtis tied the match with a kill from Niemeier, but the Vikings responded with four consecutive points, opening up a 15-11 lead. Eastern would crawl back to within one, 19-18, on a block from Niemeier and Barfield late in the frame but Portland State shut EWU out the rest of the way, scoring the final six points to claim the second set.
The hosts ran away from the Eagles in the third set, opening up a 7-2 lead on a bad set from Niemeier. Eastern would get no closer as the Vikings' lead ballooned to 12 before settling on the final 10-point margin.
Corrado paced all players with 16 kills.
Portland State outhit Eastern .276 to .140 and recorded 11 service aces to the Eagles' two.
The Eagles are back home for a pair of Big Sky matches this week, welcoming Montana State and Montana to Reese Court. Eastern takes on MSU Thursday at 6 p.m. before facing UM Saturday at 6 p.m.