Cheney, Wash. – On a night dedicated to the Eagles' seniors, visiting North Dakota played spoiler, defeating the Eastern Washington women's volleyball team in three sets Saturday, Nov. 16, in a Big Sky counter at Reese Court.
Eastern now sits at 9-20 (6-12 BSC) headed into the final weekend of league action while first-place North Dakota improves to 20-10 (15-3 BSC) with the win. Set scores for the match were: 17-25, 21-25, 18-25.
Senior Lindsay Niemeier finished with 23 assists and four digs, adding three kills and two blocks while classmate Ashley Wright tallied four kills and eight digs in their final showings at Reese Court.
Sophomore Allie Schumacher notched a team-best 10 digs to go along with four kills and four blocks.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the early moments of the first set, UND used an 8-1 run to open up a seven-point advantage. Wright stopped the run with a kill from Niemeier, but the visitors regained a seven-point lead, 14-7, on a kill from Ronni Munkeby. The Eagles would pull to within four, after a kill from Fermantez and a service ace from Ensrud, but North Dakota answered with another solid sequence of play to go back up seven, 21-14, on a kill from Anna Pioske. UND's lead ballooned to as large as 10 down the stretch before settling for the final eight-point margin.
Undeterred with the first frame's result, Eastern came out strong in the second set, racing out to a 7-1 lead. The Eagles kept the pressure on the visitors for a majority of the set, answering each UND attack with a point of their own. A kill from Schumacher spotted EWU a 16-10 lead, but North Dakota managed to tie the score at 19-19 before taking a 21-20 lead thanks to consecutive kills from Munkeby. Two more points went UND's way before Eastern called timeout, down 23-20. Out of the break, an attack error from sophomore Allison Doerpinghaus gave North Dakota set point, but she answered with a kill on her next attack to keep the Eagles alive. It would be short-lived, however, as a kill from Lexi Robinson sent UND into the break up 2-0.
The third frame was back and forth early as neither team led by more than one point. Up 6-5, North Dakota would score six of the next seven points to open up a five-point advantage, 12-7, before taking a nine-point lead, 19-10, on a block from Robinson and Lisa Parlich. Continuing to battle, the Eagles crawled back to within five, 20-15, behind strong serves from freshman Chloe Watson that kept UND out of system. EWU would get no closer, however, as North Dakota pulled away down the stretch to claim the set and the match.
Munkeby led all players with 13 kills, hitting .417 (13-3-24) for the match. Parlich added 10 kills.
Eastern hit .109 compared to North Dakota's clip of .257. UND outblocked the Eagles, 8-7, and recorded 47 digs to the Eagles' 40.
EWU hits the road for the final time next weekend, traveling to Idaho State and Weber State for a pair of Big Sky tilts. The action starts on Thursday, Nov. 28, against the Bengals. First serve is set for 6 p.m. PST.