Eagles Swoop, Sweep Past Bears
BOX SCORE: Northern Colorado-Eastern Washington
CHENEY, Wash. -- This is not how the Bears envisioned this road trip going.
They suffered their second loss in as many matches Saturday night -- this time a 3-0 defeat to Eastern Washington.
The Bears hit just .165 against the Eagles' .416 and were unable to get anything going from the start of the match. Eastern Washington shot out of the gates with a 25-12 game-one win, and Northern Colorado was never again able to capture the momentum, falling 25-17 in game two and 25-18 in game three.
"Credit Eastern Washington," Northern Colorado coach Lyndsey Benson said. "They did a good job defending us tonight and attacking our weaknesses."
Benson's Bears left Wednesday on this Oregon-Washington road trip in first place in the Big Sky Conference. But now, at 15-7 and 9-4 in the league, they're a half match back of second.
The good news?
Their quest to return to the top of the standings before the final bell rings will all come at home. Northern Colorado has three matches remaining in the regular season.
"We have a lot to work on as we prepare for the tournament because its likely we could face this team again," Benson said.
The Bears had some marginal success in spots against the Eagles (15-10, 10-4) on Saturday night -- juniors Kenzie Shreeve (12 kills) and Taylor Smith (eight) were able to get something going, and freshman Breanna Williams (seven kills) continued her solid first collegiate season -- but, overall, it was a night that the Bears will do their best to just forget about.
In short, Northern Colorado simply has been unable to make up for the loss of sophomore outside hitter Ashley Lichtenberg, who went down late last month with an injury.
The Bears will next play Thursday night against a struggling Idaho State squad, and a date with Weber State awaits on Saturday evening.
"We definitely are missing our rhythm without Ashley on the right side," Benson said, "and we just couldn't get anything going offensively tonight."
SKY CONFERENCE VOLLEYBALL STANDINGS (Top three
1. Portland State (18-6, 11-3)
2. Eastern Washington (15-10, 10-4)
3. Northern Colorado (15-7, 9-4)