Oct. 18, 2008
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team knocked off Sacramento State 25-17, 16-25, 22-25, 27-25, 15-12 on Saturday evening (Oct. 18), snapping a 10-match losing streak EWU had incurred to the Hornets entering tonight. The last Eastern win in the series between the rivals came by a 3-1 score on Nov. 4, 2004.
Earning Eastern Washington early momentum in the contest was Alysha Cook, who gave EWU a 6-2 lead in set one by serving four straight aces, which in and of itself doubled her previous career high in an entire match. That caused Sacramento State to utilize an early timeout. Eastern extended its lead to 15-9 and forced another timeout to be called by the visitors and cruised to the set win from there.
Sacramento State (7-16, 5-3 BSC) then tied the contest at one set apiece by pulling away from a 14-13 advantage with a dominating 9-1 run and won 25-16. The Hornets then pulled ahead 2-1 with a 25-22 win in set three. The Eagles used a 5-0 run to cut their deficit to 20-18 but they could no closer than two tallies.
The fourth set was incredibly dramatic, as the teams were tied at 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 before the Eagles (9-9, 5-3 BSC) scored the final two points to force a deciding fifth set. That fifth stanza appeared to be heading the same way before Eastern Washington closed out the contest by extending a narrow 11-10 lead to a 15-12 wining margin. Chenoa Coviare put the match, and Eastern’s losing streak to Sacramento State, away with a kill.
On the night, Cook had nine blocks, which is a personal career high for the sophomore and the most by any Eagle since Allison Reinstein had 10 against Portland State on Nov. 10, 2007. She also added another service ace to her incredible run of four straight to finish the night with five. Her previous career high was two, set in a 3-0 win over Arkansas on Aug. 30 of this year.
“Personally, I’ve never had a big phobia about Sac State,” head coach Miles Kydd said. “I have just felt like they are just another team. They have a new coach and had five players graduate who were starters. The past is not a good predictor of the future, and we just came up and played them like any other team.”
Also helping the Eagles in the block category were Coviare and Emily Bekkering, as the two contributed five apiece. Mandy Daniels set the pace in digs with 24, while Hayley Hills had 13. Hills also had an impressive night offensively, as she set the team pace in kills with 18. Coviare had 12 putaways, and Cook contributed 10. Ashley Hamilton had 52 assists, her third-highest total of the season.
The Eagles are now in a four-way tie for second place in the ultra-close Big Sky standings. Everybody has hit the half-way mark and EWU, Portland State, Sacramento State and Weber State are all 5-3 and looking to catch first-place Northern Colorado, who is 6-2. Montana and Northern Arizona are just behind in a tie for sixth at 4-4.
The Eagles play host to three matches next week, on Tuesday (Oct. 21), Thursday (Oct. 23) and Saturday (Oct. 25) versus Seattle University, Idaho State and Weber State, respectively. Seattle University is 8-14 and play at Savannah State on Sunday (Oct. 19) prior to making the trip to Cheney two nights later.