Preseason prepares EWU volleyball well for Big Sky play
Eastern Washington will take its 3-8 preseason record, and strides made during playing some of the toughest volleyball teams in the nation into tonight’s Big Sky Conference opening match against Sacramento State beginning at 6 p.m. at Reese Court.
The Eagles were beaten last Saturday 3-0 by USC, the nation’s top-ranked collegiate team by scores of 12-25, 23-25, 21-25 in the wrap-up of the University of San Diego Tournament. Earlier in the day EWU fell to host USD (3-0), the country’s No. 9 team, by scores of 16-25, 12-25, 12-25.
“The first 12 matches went about on schedule,” EWU head coach Wade Benson said. “We had some very nice moments and some below our standard moments.”
But that comes from playing what Benson called “One of the hardest (schedules) in the country.”
Against the Trojans, sophomore Allie Schumacher notched a team-best 11 kills. Junior Melissa Waelter and freshman Kylie Curtis each added eight kills. Senior setter Lindsay Niemeier led EWU with 19 assists and nine digs.
Curtis led Eastern with seven kills, hitting in the San Diego match. Junior Talia Fermantez added six kills. Niemeier paced EWU with 18 assists while Schumacher notched a team-best seven digs and two blocks.
“We are tested and ready for the Big Sky,” Benson said. “Some confidence has been gained and I expect us to be very ready on Thursday,” Benson said.
After the Sept. 19 opener, Eastern is on the road for a Monday, Sept. 23 contest at Portland State and home against Montana State, Thursday, Sept. 26 and Saturday, Sept. 28 when Montana visits. Both matches have their first serve at 6 p.m.