After splitting a pair of matches to open Big Sky play last week, the Eastern Washington women’s volleyball team welcomes the Montana schools to Reese Court for a pair of league showdowns this weekend. The Eagles square off with Montana State Thursday, Sept. 26, before taking on the Griz Saturday, Sept. 28. Both matches are set for 6 p.m. starts.
Eastern (4-9, 1-1 Big Sky) experienced both ends of the emotional spectrum last week, earning a thrilling comeback win against visiting Sacramento State last Thursday, Sept. 19, before falling in straight sets at Big Sky preseason No. 1 Portland State Monday, Sept. 23.
After losing the first two sets to the Hornets, the Eagles were a different team coming out of the break, winning the third and fourth sets to extend the match before claiming the decisive set to cap the come-from-behind victory.
Sophomore Allie Schumacher was tremendous against CSUS, recording a season-high 24 kills to go along with 11 digs for her third double-double of the year. She hit .333 versus the Hornets, committing just seven errors on 51 attempts. She notched 14 of her kills and nine of her digs in the final three sets, including putting away the Eagles’ final four kills in the decisive fifth set.
“We thought we were ready to come out strong but it didn’t happen,” EWU head coach Wade Benson said following the slow start versus Sac State. “The players were unhappy about their play and we all knew that we could turn it around.”
Following its comeback win over Sacramento State, EWU hit the road for a match at Portland State, the preseason favorite to win the league title.
The Eagles hung with the host Vikings throughout the first two sets, but PSU used runs of 7-1 and 6-0, respectively, to claim the first two frames before running away with the third set.
Schumacher again led the way with eight kills, tallying 11 digs as she nearly recorded her second consecutive double-double.
Juniors Talia Fermantez and Melissa Waelter each added five kills while sophomore Kellen Barfield came off the bench to register a team-best three blocks.
Montana State (2-11, 0-2 BSC) enters Thursday’s match on a three-game skid, Montana (4-7, 1-1 BSC) split its league matches last weekend.