SEATTLE — In spite of some late drama, Seattle U volleyball posted a strong outing on Tuesday, taking down in-state foe, Eastern Washington (2-5) in straight sets, 25-17, 25-22, 27-25. As a result of winning their home opener, the Redhawks improved to 5-2 overall, marking the program’s best start through seven games since moving to Division I in 2008.
“It’s always fun being able to open your home season with win,” said Seattle U head volleyball coach James Finley. “In addition to the really good crowd we had, the thing on the court that really stood out was that we played relaxed and had a lot of rhythm. The team had a great practice leading up and I’m proud of how they played tonight.”
Collectively, the Seattle U put together one of its most consistent performances thus far in the season, hitting .300 in the first set before following up with .267 and .250 in the second and third, respectively. Defensively, the Redhawks held Eastern Washington to sub-.150 hitting in each frame with posting 47 digs and seven team blocks.
Eve Kerschenbaum finished with another double-double, registering 10 kills and 11 digs. Sofia Sanchez meanwhile had a match-best 13 kills with no errors on 21 swings for a career-best .619 hitting. Tijana Milojevic celebrated her birthday with a match-high 18 digs, while Julia Queiroz finished with seven blocks.
Seattle U never trailed in the opening frame, out hitting the Eagles, .300 to .143. Leading 9-7, the Redhawks pulled away midway through the set pushing the score to 15-10. A Eastern Washington timeout did little to slow the SU attack as it tallied seven of the next 12 points, including four-straight, moving the score to 22-15 late.
Trailing 10-7 in the second, Seattle U turned the tables with an 8-3 run as it claimed a 15-12 advantage. During the stretch Kerschenbaum fueled the turnover with two kills and two aces, while contributions from Sanchez and Stark. It was Redhawks from there as Ezgi Ozkan and Julia Queiroz teamed-up for a block to make it 19-16. Ozkan added an ace a few plays later to make it 22-20. Lauren McCabe tallied a late kill before of EWU miscues helped Seattle U take a 2-0 lead.
Back-and-forth early in the third the Redhawks strung together seven unanswered points for an 11-5 lead. EWU tallied a point but the momentum was still on the Seattle U side as it rattled off six-straight, widening the gap to 17-6.
The Eagles then began to push back trimming the SU margin to six, 19-13, thanks in part to a 5-1 run. Eastern Washington continued to gradually shave the Redhawk advantage notching two points for every Seattle U tally but a EWU service error set up match-point. EWU though prolonged the frame by notching six unanswered as it established set point at 25-24.
McCabe tallied her sixth kill of the match, tying the third at 25. Sanchez then slammed the door on the Eagles, closing the match with back-to-back kills.
Seattle U continues action at home later this weekend as it hosts the Redhawk Invitational. The Redhawks will open against another Evergreen State foe in Gonzaga on the Friday at 5 pm, before squaring off with New Mexico and Oregon State on Saturday at 11 am and 6 pm, respectively.