Cedar City, Utah – The Eastern Washington University volleyball team saw its winning ways continue Thursday night, Oct. 1, topping Southern Utah in four sets to remain unbeaten in Big Sky Conference play through three matches.
EWU stays perfect in league action with a 3-0 record and improves to 8-6 overall with the win while Southern Utah falls to 10-6 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
After heading into the break tied 1-1, Eastern used a couple of game-changing runs in the third and fourth sets to secure the match.
Down by one, 9-8, midway through the third frame, a timely kill from sophomore Nicole Rigoni ignited a 7-3 run by the Eagles to take a commanding 15-12 lead. They would keep the hosts at bay the rest of the way, taking a 2-1 advantage into the fourth set.
The fourth frame was another back-and-forth battle. With the score tied 8-8, senior Allie Schumacher put away a pass from Rigoni to start a 7-2 streak for EWU. The Thunderbirds would get no closer than two points the rest of the way as Eastern held on the for the win.
Senior Ana Jakovljevic led three Eagles in double figures with 17 kills, adding seven digs. Classmate Allie Schumacher tallied a double-double with 13 kills and 13 digs while putting away two service aces.
Senior Alexis Wesley finished with a season-best 12 kills to go along with nine blocks and two digs.
Sophomore Nicole Rigoni set a new season high with 40 assists, adding 10 digs, two blocks and two kills to her stat line.
The Eagles' defense at the net was impressive, finishing with 13.5 blocks compared to 6.0 for Southern Utah.
EWU hit .257 while the Thunderbirds swung at a .167 clip. Eastern had a .306 hitting percentage in the decisive fourth set while SUU hit just .147 in the fourth frame.
Quoting Coach King
"Our blocking was outstanding tonight, and our abilty to transition and score was a direct reflection of what we've been spending time on in practice. Ryann had a grat night defensively and dug some great attacks, allowing us to run our offense. Southern Utah came to play and they were ready for us. They really served well, but we answered the call."
Tonight's win improves EWU's record to a perfect 3-0 all-time against Southern Utah in Cedar City. The Eagles have yet to lose to SUU in a true road game since the Thunderbirds joined the Big Sky prior to the 2012 season.
Eastern is now 8-0 so far this season after winning the first set and 7-0 when hitting at a better percentage than its opponent.
Ensrud's 28 digs surpassed her previous career high of 25 digs which came back Sept. 1, 2012, against San Diego State.
The Eagles return home to Reese Court for a tilt with regional rival Idaho this Saturday, Oct. 3. First serve is set for 6 p.m. PST.