October 30, 2008

Eagles Drop Decision in Missoula

Oct. 30, 2008

Final Stats

The Eastern Washington University volleyball team battled in all three sets but fell short of Montana 25-21, 25-23, 25-22 in a Big Sky Conference match in Missoula on Thursday evening (Oct. 30).

Hayley Hills had 13 kills in the contest to lead Eastern in that category. Ashley Hamilton contributed 18 assists in the match, while Amanda Yausie had 11 helpers. JaNae Mortensen had three service aces in the contest.

Defensively, Alysha Cook had three blocks, and Mandy Daniels led the Eagles in digs with 12.

In set one, Eastern Washington rallied from 9-5 down to tie the stanza at 10-all. The teams stayed within two points from then until the Grizzlies pulled away from an 18-15 advantage to keep at least a two-point edge the remainder of the set.

"In the first set, we made a lot of unforced errors and allowed them to get on a bit of a roll," head coach Miles Kydd said.

The second set saw EWU (12-10) use a 5-1 run to go from a 5-5 tie to go up 10-6, but Montana quickly responded and tied it 12-12. Montana held advantages from between 15-15 until 23-23 ties before scoring the final two points to claim its 25-23 win.

The Grizzlies (10-11, 6-5 BSC) grabbed early control of set three by taking a commanding 16-9 lead, but EWU chipped at the lead and closed its deficit to just two at 20-18. At that point, Montana called a timeout and proceeded to score two straight points to extend its edge to four, enough room for the Grizzlies to hold on and secure their win.

"We were playing from behind the whole night," Kydd said. "That is a tough way to play. And we did not pass the ball well enough to get into an offensive rhythm. Montana was having success and gaining confidence, which makes them even harder to play against."

Despite its first loss in Missoula since Nov. 13, 1999 (and first sweep loss since Nov. 10, 1995), the Eagles remain high in the Big Sky standings, sitting in third place with a 7-4 league record. Eastern trails Portland State (8-3) and Northern Colorado (8-2) in the race for the regular-season crown.

Eastern Washington returns to action at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday (Nov. 1) at Montana State. The Bobcats fell at home to Portland State 3-0 to fall to 3-18, 0-11 in Big Sky matches. Montana State has dropped 31 straight league contests.

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