VOLLEYBALL LETS 2-1 LEAD SLIP AWAY, FALLS IN FIVE TO EASTERN WASHINGTON
CHENEY, Wash. -- Eastern Washington’s Hayley Hills had a match-high tying 18 kills, including four in the decisive fifth set, to lead the Eagles to a 3-2 victory (25-17, 16-25, 22-25, 27-25, 15-12) over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference volleyball match Saturday evening at Reese Court.
With the loss, Sacramento State (7-16, 5-3) had its five-match winning streak against Big Sky competition snapped. During that winning streak, the Hornets had won three of those matches in five sets, before having that run stopped tonight as well. Sacramento State now finds itself in a four-way tie for second place in the league standings, joining Portland State, Weber State and Eastern Washington with 5-3 conference records. Northern Colorado, which defeated Northern Arizona in four sets tonight, sits atop the conference with a 6-2 record.
With the victory, Eastern Washington won its third straight while improving to 9-9 overall and 5-3 in the Big Sky. In addition, the Eagles snapped a 10-match losing streak to the Hornets that dated back to 2004. Sacramento State is now 26-9 all-time against EWU.
Eastern Washington never trailed in the fifth set, but Sacramento State kept it close, staying within three points or less the whole way. Desiree Hoyum’s fifth kill of the set drew the Hornets to within, 14-12, but Chenoa Coviare put things away with a kill to end the match. Eastern Washington hit .429 in the fifth set with 10 kills and just one error in 21 attacks, while also adding 2.0 team blocks.
The match took a turn in Eastern Washington’s favor during the fourth set. Sacramento State had won two of the first three sets, and held a 23-22 lead late in the fourth before the Eagles went on a 5-2 run to close the frame. Sacramento State saved set points at 24-23 and 25-24 before a Coviare kill and a Hornet attack error ended the frame.
For the match, Eastern Washington held an advantage over Sacramento State in kills (62-61), service aces (10-3) and team blocks (13.0-9.0). Sacramento State had 10 more digs (77-67) and hit for a higher percentage (.206-.188), but could not overcome the Eagles’ torrid hitting percentage in the fifth set.
Sacramento State had four players finish with double figures in kills, comprised of Hoyum (18), senior Brittany Ferguson (12 kills, team-best .400 hitting percentage), sophomore Maddison Thivierge (12 kills, .370 hitting percentage) and freshman Eryn Kirby (12 kills, six digs). Ferguson and Thivierge combined to hit .385 with just four attack errors during the match. Hoyum also posted 12 digs to notch her seventh double-double of the season, and sixth in the team’s last seven matches.
Hornet senior Katie Van Der Wende led the Hornets with 22 digs, and combined with her 35 digs last night, finished the week with 57 digs, and an average of 5.7 per set. Senior setter Rose Burke rounded out the three Sacramento State players with double figures in digs as the team captain had 14 digs, 47 assists and three blocks. Freshman Kelsey Elston led the Hornets with five blocks.
For Eastern Washington, Hills’ 18 kills also came with 13 digs as she accounted for a match-high 20.5 points during the contest. Alysha Cook added 10 kills and a match-high nine blocks, and Coviare had 12 kills and five blocks for the Eagles.
Sacramento State will now embark upon its lone bye week of the season and will not play again until hosting Northern Colorado on Friday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. The Hornets will host their alumni game this Friday, Oct. 25, at 6 p.m. at Colberg Court. Head coach Ruben Volta will coach the current team while former coach and Hall of Famer Debby Colberg will lead the alumni team.