November 13, 2013

Volleyball team plays final road matches in Pacific Northwest

The Bears face Eastern Washington at 7 p.m. Friday in Cheney, Wash., and they face Portland State at 8 p.m. Saturday in Portland, Ore.

In a nutshell

* The Bears moved within one win of sixth place by defeating North Dakota and Sacramento State last weekend.

Northern Colorado defeated North Dakota 3-1 behind 38 assists, eight digs, seven kills and five total blocks from freshman setter Ashley Guthrie, a performance that earned her Big Sky Player of the Week honors.

The Bears held UND to .094 hitting, its lowest percentage in any conference match this season, while also having 86 digs and 17 total team blocks.

Northern Colorado then held Sacramento State to .090 hitting in a three-set win Monday. The Hornets didn't score more than 15 in any set.

In Northern Colorado's first meeting with Eastern Washington this season, the Bears held the Eagles to just .077 hitting in a 3-1 win.  Sophomore outside hitter Kendra Cunningham had a career-high 21 kills in that match, and nobody for EWU had more than eight kills.

When the Bears met Portland State the first time this season, they were the victims of a 3-1 loss at home, including a 31-29 marathon first set. Junior middle blocker Brianna Strong had 18 kills in the match, and the Bears had 80 digs, but the Vikings hit .230 to the Bears' .184 and 27 attack errors.

What's on Deck

 * Following this set of matches, the Bears return home to face Southern Utah at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 before finishing the regular season on senior night against Northern Arizona at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23.

Scouting Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington has the eighth-best hitting percentage in the league at .171, but the Eagles have the fifth-best opponent hitting percentage at .212.

The Eagles are ninth in assists per set (10.52) kills per set (11.28) and digs per set (12.63) and are seventh in blocks per set (2.30).

* Junior middle blocker Talia Fermantez is 10th in the Big Sky in hitting percentage at .268.

Scouting Portland State

The Vikings are fifth in the league in hitting percentage at .219 and are third in opponent hitting percentage at .190.

Senior setter Garyn Schlatter is third in the Big Sky in assists per set at 10.69, and the Vikings as a team are first in that category with 12.98.

The Vikings are second in the conference with 13.80 kills per set (behind North Dakota's 13.81), and Portland State is also the best serving team in the Big Sky with 1.79 aces per set.

At 15.17 digs per set, Portland State is second in the Big Sky behind only Northern Colorado (15.23).