November 20, 2013

@EWUVolleyball Wraps Up Regular Season At Idaho State, Weber State

This Week In EWU Volleyball

at Idaho State at Weber State
Thursday, Nov. 21 | 6 p.m. PST Saturday, Nov. 23 | 6 p.m. PST
Reed Gym | Pocatello, Idaho Swenson Gym | Ogden, Utah
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The Eastern Washington women's volleyball team will wrap up its 2013 campaign with a pair of Big Sky road matches this weekend, taking on Idaho State and Weber State. The Eagles face the Bengals on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m. PST before squaring off with the Wildcats on Saturday, also at 6 p.m. PST.

This weekend's matches mark the continuation of the two longest-running series in Eastern's 31-year history as an NCAA Division I program. Thursday's match will be the 67th all-time meeting between the Eagles and Idaho State while Saturday's tilt will be the 68th all-time meeting between EWU and Weber State.

Eastern (9-20, 6-12 Big Sky) enter its final weekend of play after having dropped its last home matches of 2013 last weekend to Northern Colorado and league-leading North Dakota. The Eagles led the Bears 2-1 after the first three sets last Friday, Nov. 15, but saw UNC rally to force a fifth frame before escaping with the win in a thrilling final set. Saturday saw UND continue its impressive run of play with a three-set win despite a valiant effort from Eastern that pushed North Dakota in all three sets.

Last Saturday's match versus North Dakota marked the final home appearance of seniors Lindsay Niemeier and Ashley Wright, who were both honored prior to the start of the match. Niemeier enters this weekend's tilts just 27 assists shy of 2,000 career assists and would become just the 12th player in school history to reach that plateau. She also played her 300th career set versus the Bears last Friday. Wright is also close to a career mileston, needing just 16 kills to reach 500 in her time at Eastern. She would become just the second player in the program's history to notch 500 kills, 200 assists and 300 digs if she reaches that mark.

EWU set a new season high with 184 attacks against Northern Colorado last Friday, 21 more than the previous high of 163 that came against Southern Utah back on Oct. 3. The Eagles also recorded a season-best 75 digs versus the Bears, one more than its previous high mark of 74, also versus SUU. Both sophomore Allie Schumacher and junior Kelsey Julian set new highs for attacks in a match, finishing with respective totals of 52 and 47. Schumacher notched a double-double with 14 kills and 12 digs against UNC while Julian led the Eagles with 16 kills, adding nine digs and a team-high three service aces.

Senior Lindsay Niemeier set a new season high with 46 assists versus Northern Colorado, narrowly missing out on a double-double with nine digs. Sophomore Ryann Ensrud finished with 20 digs, marking the second consecutive match with at least 20 digs.

Idaho State (19-10, 13-5 BSC) currently sit tied for third in the league standings thanks to a five-match winning streak in recent outings. The Bengals are 7-2 on their home floor on the season, tied for the fewest home losses among conference members. ISU ranks second in the league in aces per set with an average of 1.50 while its hitting percentage (.235) and kills per set average (13.69) rank third, respectively. Makenzie Filer ranks second in the Big Sky in hitting percentage (.369) while Tressa Lyman ranks second in kills per set (3.59).

ISU won the previous meeting over Eastern in four sets as EWU hit just .088 for the match compared to the Bengals' .232 clip. Schumacher recorded a double-double with 14 kills and 12 digs while Julian added 12 kills and four digs. Niemeier finished with 35 assists and eight digs while Ensrud recorded a match-high 23 digs.

Weber State (7-25, 3-15 BSC) is in the midst of a five-match losing streak that has seen them fall to 10th in the Big Sky standings. Five of the Wildcats' seven wins on the year have come in the friendly confines of Swenson Gym, but WSU has won just twice at home in league play. Weber State ranks last in the conference in hitting percentage (.138) while opponents are swinging at a .230 clip against the Wildcats. McKay Tarbox ranks fifth in the Big Sky in digs per set (4.01).

The Eagles swept WSU in this season's previous meeting, hitting a season-high .438 while limiting the Wildcats to a .042 clip. Julian had arguably her best performance of the season against Weber State, hitting .800 (12-0-15) while recorded a team-high seven digs and a career-high four service aces. Niemier tallied 32 assists in just three sets while Schumacher added 11 kills.

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