New Orleans, La. – The Eastern Washington University volleyball team claimed the New Orleans Invitational title after sweeping the host Privateers Saturday morning, Sept. 5.
Winners of three straight, EWU improved to 3-3 while New Orleans dropped 2-3 with the loss. Set scores for the match were: 25-23, 25-20, 25-17.
With the first serve coming at 8 a.m. PT, Eastern took a while to get going as UNO opened up a 17-13 advantage midway through the first set. Despite its early offensive struggles, the Eagles managed to reel off seven straight points to take a 20-17 lead.
The Privateers would tie the score at 23-23, but back-to-back points from EWU, including an emphatic kill from senior Allie Schumacher, gave Eastern the set victory and the momentum it needed to secure the next two frames and the match.
Schumacher led all players with 10 kills on 24 swings, adding four digs and three blocks to her stat line.
Senior Ana Jakovljevic and freshman Jessica Gilbert both tallied eight kills on 12 swings apiece, combining to swing at a .625 clip. Jakovljevic put away a pair of service aces while Gilbert notched four digs and one block.
Senior Alexis Wesley finished with five kills and a team-best three rejections, continuing her strong defensive play at the net.
Senior Ryann Ensrud registered a match-high 11 digs.
Eastern hit just .111 in the opening set, taking a while to grow into the match. It took the Eagles just one frame to get going, as they swung at a .458 clip in the second set before hitting .371 in the third set.
EWU finished with 14 blocks to the Privateers' 12 and came up with 32 digs while New Orleans finished with 28 digs.
Quoting Coach Benson
"Winning a tournament is always a nice feeling. Many of our players had big games for us, both today and yesterday. Today's match wasn't as clean as we hoped, but we're starting to show that maturity that you look for in a team with a roster mixed with old and young players. We're excited to move on to the next challenge."
Tweet of the Match
Eastern has now won three straight matches for the first time since the 2011 season.
All six of EWU's matches so far this season have been decided in just three sets.
The Eagles conclude their stay in Louisiana with a match at Southeastern Louisiana tomorrow, Sept. 6, at 12 p.m. PT.