Honolulu, Hawaii – Playing its first of three matches as part of the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Classic Thursday night, Sept. 10, the Eastern Washington University volleyball team took a set from No. 2 Florida before eventually falling to the Gators in four sets at the Stan Sherriff Center.
EWU sees its four-match winning streak come to an end and drops to 4-4 with the loss while Florida improves to 4-0.
Facing tough odds against the second-ranked team in the country, Eastern started the match slow, allowing the Gators to run away with the first set before holding on to claim the second frame. Despite dropping the second set, the Eagles began to pick things up offensively, using intermission to make some key adjustments in advance of the third frame.
EWU played some of its best volleyball of the season so far in the third set, turning a 20-18 deficit into a 23-21 advantage thanks to some timely kills from seniors Alexis Wesley and Ana Jakovljevic and junior Sophie Miller. The Eagles hit .452 in the third set, committing just one error on 31 swings.
Things remained tight at the start of the fourth set as a service error from the Gators tied the score at 15-15. At that point, things suddenly clicked for Florida, who reeled off seven of the next eight points to open up a 22-16 edge. Senior Allie Schumacher would momentarily stop the bleeding, but UF put away two kills to claim the set and the match.
Schumacher led the Eagles with 11 kills on 37 swings, adding six digs to her stat line. Jakovljevic added seven kills, two digs and a service ace while Wesley and freshman Jessica Gilbert chipped in four kills apiece. Wesley added two blocks to her totals while Gilbert came up with five digs, one block and one service ace.
Freshman Fernanda Vido tied for the match high with 15 digs.
EWU hit .101 on the night, committing 21 attack errors to the Gators' nine. In comparison, Florida swung at a .414 clip.
UF finished the match with 10 total blocks while the Eagles' defense managed just three rejections. The Gators also notched 52 digs to Eastern's 41.
Quoting Coach Benson
"We showed some kill against a very talented Florida team, recovering from a tough first set and pushing them. I thought we passed well and our attackers gained confidence as the match progressed. Individually, I thought Allie really played well."
Schumacher has now led the Eagles in kills in all but one of its eight matches so far this season.
The last time Eastern took a set off a ranked team was back on Aug. 30, 2008, when it won two frames against then-No. 17 Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo.
The Eagles were held to just nine points in the first set tonight, marking the first time that EWU failed to reach double digit points in a frame since Sept. 5, 2012, against Boise State.
EWU will return to the court tomorrow, Sept. 11, for its second game in Hawaii. The Eagles will square off with San Diego State at 7:30 p.m. PST.