This Week in @EWUVolleyball
|vs. North Dakota||vs. Northern Colorado|
|Thursday, Sept. 24 - 6 p.m. PST||Saturday, Sept. 26 - 12 p.m. PST|
|Reese Court - Cheney, Wash.||Reese Court - Cheney, Wash.|
|Tickets | Live Stats||Tickets | Live Stats|
Cheney, Wash. – For the Eastern Washington University volleyball team, a new season starts now.
EWU opens Big Sky Conference play at home this week, facing off with North Dakota on Thursday, Sept. 24, before taking on Northern Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 26. The Eagles' match versus UND will start at 6 p.m. PST while Saturday's tilt is set for a 12 p.m. PST start time.
Eastern (5-6) concluded its nonconference schedule with a convincing sweep of Corban last Thursday, Sept. 17, at Reese Court. EWU's five nonconference wins are the most in a season since 2009 when it notched six non-league victories.
The Eagles will go the rest of the season without head coach Wade Benson on the sideline after he announced he was stepping down from his post last Wednesday, Sept. 16, citing fatigue of extensive travel and the demands associated with leading the program. Associate head coach Michael King will serve as the team's interim head coach for the remainder of the year.
King acted in the same role a season ago after Benson took a leave of absence following throat cancer treatments that he underwent at the conclusion of Eastern's 2013 campaign. Under King, EWU finished with a 9-20 record and found itself just outside of the Big Sky Tournament with a 5-11 league mark.
North Dakota (11-5) enters Thursday's match having won 10 of its last 11 contests. UND boasts one of the Big Sky's best defenses as it leads the league in digs per set (16.85) and ranks fourth in blocks per set (2.46). North Dakota boasts four players who average more than two kills per set, led by Faith Dooley's average of 2.95 kills per set.
Northern Colorado (4-8) will play at Denver and at Idaho before facing the Eagles on Saturday afternoon. The Bears dealt with a difficult nonconference slate highlighted by tilts with three ranked opponents. UNC's Kendra Cunningham ranks sixth in the league with an average of 3.64 kills per set while swinging at a .182 clip.
"Both North Dakota and Northern Colorado are some of the top teams in our conference," said King. "I feel very confident in our staff and putting together a good game plan, and I like what I've seen from our team in preparation for these matches."