Cheney, Wash. – The Eastern Washington University volleyball team concluded its nonconference schedule with a three-set win over visiting Corban Thursday night, Sept. 17, in what was also the final match of nine-year head coach Wade Benson's stellar career.
EWU improves to 5-6 with the victory while NAIA member Corban falls to 4-8 on the season. Set scores for the match were: 25-15, 25-14, 25-16.
What It Means
Tonight's match marks the end of an era of Eastern Volleyball as head coach Wade Benson will step down from his post effective immediately and transition into a non-traveling assistant coach position. Associate head coach Michael King will lead the Eagles on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.
Benson concludes his coaching career with 254 career wins, three Big Sky regular season titles and two Big Sky Coach of the Year awards.
The two squads went back and forth for much of the first set as the Warriors showed no signs of being intimidated by the bigger, more physical Eagles. Kills from Corban's Hannah Olson and Victoria Schroeder gave the visitors a 14-13 lead midway through the frame, but a kill from Fernanda Vido ignited a run of five consecutive points as Eastern opened up an 18-14 advantage.
Corban would get no closer than three points the rest of the way as the Eagles closed the opening frame on a 7-0 run. Using the momentum from the first set, Eastern cruised to victories in the second and third sets to claim the match.
Senior Allie Schumacher turned in a standout performance, leading all players with 16 kills on 22 error-free swings. She added eight digs, one block and one service ace to her impressive stat line.
Sophomore Nicole Rigoni tallied 23 assists to go along with five digs. She also served well on the night, putting down a pair of service aces.
Senior Alexis Wesley notched three blocks to go along with seven kills.
Senior Ryann Ensrud paced EWU with nine digs, adding one service ace.
Eastern finished the night hitting .375 compared to the Warriors' .072 clip. Corban committed just six more errors than the Eagles, but EWU's defense prevented the visitors from finding the floor for much of the match, finishing with just 22 kills on 83 attempts.
The Eagles notched six service aces while the Warriors aced Eastern just twice.
Schumacher's .727 hitting percentage ranks second all-time in a single match in EWU's 33-year NCAA Division I history with a minimum of 20 attempts. The last time an Eastern player hit better than Schumacher was back on Aug. 31, 2007, as Chenoa Coviare swung at a .750 clip against Colgate.
Tweet of the Match
The Eagles open Big Sky Conference play at home next week, beginning with a tilt against North Division foe North Dakota on Thursday, Sept. 24. The match is set to begin at 6 p.m. PST.