CHENEY, Wash. -- Sacramento State concluded a season-long five-match road trip on Monday evening with a three-set loss to Eastern Washington, 29-27, 25-18, 25-22, in a Big Sky Conference volleyball matchup at Reese Court.
The loss dropped the Hornets to 7-15 overall and 3-9 in the Big Sky. The team went 1-4 on the road trip and will return home to play six of its final eight matches of the regular season at home. The Hornets have some work to do if they want to make the Big Sky Tournament. Six of the 11 conference teams reach the league's postseason event, a place the Hornets have been all but two times since joining the Big Sky in 1996.
Both teams battled back and forth in a first set that took nearly 40 minutes to complete. Sacramento State had a set point at 25-24, but a service error allowed Eastern Washington to tie things at 25-25. The Hornets turned back three Eagle set points before a set error gave EWU the 29-27 win. Hornet rightside hitter had seven of her match-high 16 kills in the set, accounting for three of the team's final four points of the frame via kill.
The Hornets had a 16-15 lead in the second set before the Eagles went on a 10-2 run to take the frame. In the third, Sacramento State scored three straight points to cut a 24-19 deficit to 24-22, but a Kellen Barfield kill ended the set and match.
For the Hornets, Beal's 16 kills came with a .500 hitting percentage and six blocks. The Dixon, Calif., native had just one error in 30 attacks, and accounted for 19 points by herself. Middle blocker , who entered the match ranked 17th in the nation in blocks per set, had a team-high eight blocks. added six kills and a .333 hitting percentage, led all players with 22 digs, had eight kills, and tallied 26 assists and 11 digs.
Eastern Washington (1-22, 1-11) was led by Cora Kellerman's 15 kills while Allie Schumacher added 11 kills and Allison Doerpinghaus had eight kills and match highs in both hitting percentage (.571) and blocks (10).
The Hornets will play four matches over a 10-day stretch, beginning later this week when they host Southern Utah on Thursday at 7 p.m., and Northern Arizona on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.