Eagles snap four-match skid behind solid defensive, timely hitting in convincing win over Bobcats
Bozeman, Mont. – The Eastern Washington women's volleyball team combined a strong defensive effort with an impressive hitting performance en route to earning a four-set win over host Montana State Saturday, Nov. 2, in a Big Sky match at Shroyer Gym.
The win improves EWU's record to 8-17 (5-9 Big Sky) while MSU falls to 5-20 (3-11 BSC). Set scores for the match were: 25-16, 21-25, 25-19, 25-20.
Junior Kelsey Julian paced the Eagles with 12 kills on 23 attacks, hitting .391 for the match. Classmante Talia Fermantez finished with 11 kills on 15 swings, committing just one error for a hitting percentage of .667.
Senior Linsay Niemeier tallied 36 assists to go along with four blocks and three digs. Sophomore Ryann Ensrud led EWU with eight digs while Julian added six.
Three Eagles finished with five blocks on the night. Fermantez and sophomore Allison Doerpinghaus each notched five block assists while sophomore Allie Schumacher recorded a block solo and four block assists.
Eastern jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first set, punctuated by a kill from Julian before a block error from Doerpinghaus brought the hosts to within one, 4-3, moments later. The Eagles kept the pressure on the Bobcats, opening up a 12-6 lead behind two kills from Fermantez and a block from Fermantez and Schumacher, forcing MSU to call its first timeout. Another kill from Fermantez and a block from Niemeier and Doerpinghaus kept EWU in front, 16-8, but Montana State scored two of the next three points, causing Eastern to take a timeout. The Bobcats would get no closer, however, as Eastern kept the hosts at bay for the remainder of the set to take a 1-0 match lead.
The Eagles hit .409 in the first set, committing just two errors on 22 attacks. On the other side of the net, Montana State was held to a .031 hitting percentage for the opening frame, hitting into three Eastern blocks.
Tied at 7-7 early in the second set, Montana State scored six of the next eight points to open up a 13-9 advantage, taking advantage of a number of Eastern errors. The Bobcats extended their lead to six, 15-9, forcing EWU to call its first timeout of the frame. A kill from Julian and an attack error from MSU brought the Eagles to within four, 15-11, out of the timeout, but the hosts quickly reasserted their six-point advantage, 19-13, thanks to some timely hitting and more errors from Eastern. A kill from Natalee Godfrey gave the Bobcats set point, but kills from Niemeier and Doerpinghaus, coupled with an attack error from Kennadie Clute, kept the Eagles alive. Clute finally ended the set with a kill, evening the match at 1-1 at the break.
Eastern turned a 2-2 tie early in the third set into a 9-4 lead behind a number of MSU errors as the Bobcats called an early timeout. Montana State crawled to within two, 10-8, on a kill from Eli Svisco, but would get no closer as the Eagles scored seven of the next 11 points to open up a 17-12 advantage midway through the frame. EWU's lead would balloon to seven three times down the stretch before settling on a six-point margin as the Eagles took a 2-1 match lead.
The fourth set was close in the early going as neither team was able to gain much separation. Tied 6-6, Eastern got blocks from Fermantez and Schumacher and Fermantez and Niemeier to go along with a pair of attack errors from the Bobcats to take a 10-6 lead. Refusing to go quietly, the Bobcats rallied to go up one, 12-11 before a kill from Doerpinghaus tied the score at 12-12. Eastern took a two-point lead, 18-16, on an attack error from Clute, then went up three, 20-17, after Fermantez put away an over pass. Montana State came back to within one, 20-19, but EWU answered with a 3-0 run to open up a 23-19 advantage. A service error from Ensrud gave the Bobcats the ball but a Doerpinghaus kill and an attack error from Clute gave the Eagles the set and the match.
Eastern hit .250 for the match, committing just 18 errors on 100 attacks. MSU swung at a .145 clip thanks to 32 attack errors. The Eagles tallied 12 blocks to the Bobcats' three, and recorded seven service aces while MSU finished with three.
Clute finished with a match-high 27 kills on 54 attacks, nearly recording a double-double with eight digs.
Eastern kicks off a four-match home stand on Thursday, Nov. 7, when Northern Arizona comes to Cheney for a Big Sky counter. First serve is set for 6 p.m.