Cheney, Wash. – The Eastern Washington University volleyball team completed a perfect opening week to Big Sky Conference play Saturday afternoon, Sept. 26, sweeping Northern Colorado at Reese Court.
EWU now owns a 2-0 league mark and improves to 7-6 overall with the win while Northern Colorado drops to 0-2 in conference play and 4-11 overall.
Having already claimed the first two sets, Eastern found itself down early in the third frame as UNC raced out to an 11-5 lead, taking advantage of a few errors by the Eagles. A service error from the Bears' Makenna Meier started a run of five consecutive points for EWU, tying the score at 12-12 and forcing the visitors to call timeout.
Freshman Jessica Gilbert recorded an emphatic kill out of the timeout, igniting a 6-3 Eastern run that put the Eagles up four, 19-15. Northern Colorado would get no closer than two points the rest of the way as the Eagles closed out the set and the match.
Gilbert and senior Alexis Wesley notched nine kills apiece as both hit the ball well on the day, with Wesley hitting .444 (9-1-18) while Gilbert swung at a .353 (9-3-17) clip. Wesley added a match-high four blocks to her stat line while Gilbert finished with three blocks and a season-best 10 digs.
The Eagles finished with nine blocks compared to three for the Bears.
Eastern hit .218 for the match while Northern Colorado swung at a .115 clip.
Quoting Coach King
"Our passing came through again today. I thought Ana did a phenomenal job of passing, and I thought our middle and right side offense really clicked today. We served tough and made very few service errors, and we put a lot of pressure on UNC. Credit to Northern Colorado for playing very well. You could tell they came in prepared and ready to play."
EWU is off to a 2-0 start to conference play for the first time since 2011.
The last time the Eagles earned consecutive sweeps to start Big Sky play was back in 2004 when they beat both Portland State and Weber State.
Eastern hits the road for the first time in conference play as it heads to Southern Utah for a match on Thursday, Oct. 1. The match is set to begin at 6 p.m. PST.