Bozeman, Mont. – The Eastern Washington University volleyball team rebounded from a first set defeat to win the next three frames and top host Montana State, 3-1, in a Big Sky Conference match Thursday night, Oct. 15.
Winners of eight straight, EWU improves to 7-0 in conference play and 12-6 overall while Montana State falls to 3-12 overall and 1-6 in league matches.
After watching the Bobcats take the opening set in easy fashion, Eastern rebounded with solid performances in the next two sets, winning both by identical scores of 25-23. The Eagles faced late deficits in both frames but closed strong to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set saw EWU put forth a dominating effort as the Eagles raced out to an early 5-0 lead behind three kills from senior Allie Schumacher. MSU would get no closer than four points the rest of the way as Eastern cruised to a 25-8 set win to take the match.
Five different Eagles recorded at least seven kills on the night, led by Schumacher's 14 kills. She added nine digs and four blocks to her impressive stat line.
Freshman Jessica Gilbert added nine kills on 17 swings to go along with five blocks and four digs.
Sophomore Chloe Weber had a well-rounded performance, finishing with seven kills, four digs, four blocks and one service ace.
Eastern's attack took a while to get going, but exploded in the decisive fourth set as the Eagles hit .480 (14-2-25) while holding the Bobcats to a -.161 hitting percentage.
EWU's defense was stellar, finishing with 14 total blocks compared to just three for Montana State.
Quoting Coach King
"It took us a long time to find our rhythm tonight. We started off slow and made a few uncharacteristic mistakes. Montana State deserves a lot of credit for their performance tonight. Once we found our rhythm, things started to click and we started to play with that fire and focus we've displayed in the past."
For the first time this season, the Eagles won a match after dropping the opening set. EWU was previously 0-6 in matches that saw it fall in the first frame.
Ensrud's 12 digs move her into ninth all-time in Eastern's NCAA Division I history with 980 career digs. She is on pace to becom just the eighth Eagle with 1,000 career digs in the program's 33-year DI history.
EWU's road swing continues with a match against Montana in Missoula, Mont., this Saturday at 6 p.m. PST.