Eagles Topple Portland State in Four

Oct. 10, 2008

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The Eastern Washington University volleyball team knocked off the first-place team in the Big Sky Conference on Friday evening (Oct. 10), Portland State, by 23-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-21 scores. Hayley Hills had a 20-20 night, contributing 20 kills and 21 digs.

There were also many other contributing players in Eastern’s win. Mandy Daniels led the team with 24 digs, while Alysha Cook had 13 kills and Chenoa Coviare contributed 11 putaways and six blocks. Ashley Hamilton had 55 assists in the contest, tied for the fifth-highest total by any Big Sky player entering Friday’s action.

In the first set, Eastern Washington jumped out to an early 8-5 lead, but Portland State rallied and took a 19-14 advantage. At that point, EWU stormed back with five straight points to tie the score at 19. After the squads were tied at 20, 21, 22 and 23, the Vikings scored the final two points of the set.

Portland State (12-5, 5-2 BSC) then held a controlling 21-16 advantage in set two, but Eastern once again would not go down quietly, scoring five straight points once again to tie the score at 21.

“That was Cora Kellerman and Emily Bekkering, who came in and played great for us,” head coach Miles Kydd said. “Those are two freshmen and we put it on their shoulders, and they got that turned around and carried it through the last two sets, as well.”

In that second stanza, the teams then were tied at 22-, 23- and 24-all before Eastern turned the tables by scoring the last pair of tallies of the set, finished off by a JaNae Mortensen service ace.

Set three saw Eastern Washington (7-9, 4-3 BSC) pull away from a 20-19 advantage to go up 24-20, the final tally of that run coming off a powerful Hills kill. After the Vikings scored three straight to pull to within one at 24-23, Hills put the set away with another kill.

In the fourth set, the Eagles scored the first five points and held control the rest of the way, the lone exception being an 11-10 Portland State lead. Eastern Washington created some space between the teams when a late 6-3 run earned EWU a 24-20 advantage. The 24th tally came courtesy of a perfectly-timed tip from Cook, and the Eagles won the only set to not be decided by two points tonight, 25-21.

“It was nice to get a win,” Kydd said. “We love playing at home. Portland State is in the top two in the conference in blocking (second) and digging (first), and we beat them in both of those categories. That was a nice accomplishment for our team.

Eastern Washington now looks ahead to its annual rivalry match with Gonzaga, as the squads will face off on the GU campus at 7 p.m. on Monday (Oct. 13). The Bulldogs are 6-12, 0-3 in West Coast Conference play, and take on Santa Clara on Saturday (Oct. 11) before playing the Eagles.

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