Eagles Ready for Final Non-Conference Road Trip this Weekend

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Eastern Washington women’s volleyball will travel for its final non-conference games of the season this weekend.

Eastern will play in three games in Nacogdoches, Texas in the Hampton Inn Invitational hosted by Stephen F. Austin. The Eagles open on Friday, Sep. 16 against Arkansas State at 12 p.m. Pacific Time, followed by the host team, Stephen F. Austin at 6 p.m. that same day. The final non-conference game of the season will be on Saturday, Sep. 17 against Texas A&M University-Commerce at 10 a.m.

Last Time Out

Eastern Washington traveled to Spokane on Tuesday night for a matchup against Gonzaga. The Eagles came up short in a 1-3[22-25, 25-22, 22-25, 22-25] game against the Zags. Eastern tied the game after losing the first set, but the Bulldogs scored effectively in the next two sets to earn the win.

Sage Brustad recorded her third double-double of the season with 16 kills and 13 digs. Katie Fleck notched her first career double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs. In total, Eastern had three players in double figures for kills, with Alyssa Radke adding 12. Lindsey Russell had 43 assists and nine digs in the game.

Scouting the Eagles

Eastern is 3-6 on the season, going 2-2 in neutral site games and 1-4 in away games. The Eagles have accumulated 436 kills this season and are hitting .211. For the season, Eastern has recorded more kills than its opponents in six-of-nine games. The team averages 12.5 kills per set, while allowing 12.3 to opponents. Eastern’s defense also has limited opponents to a .207 attack percentage. At the service line, the Eagles have recorded 65 aces and are averaging 1.9 per set.

Sage Brustad has recorded double doubles in her last two games and now has six for her career. The junior leads the team with 3.80 kills per set and is second with 2.43 digs per set. She is also second on the team with 15 service aces. This season, Brustad currently ranks fourth in the Big Sky with 4.36 points per set, with 152.5 total.

Lindsey Russell has distributed the ball well in 2022, averaging 10.06 assists per set and has 342 total. The senior adds another complete player for the Eagles, ranking third on the team in aces(13) and digs per set(2.29).

Sadie Bacon is another all-around contributor for the Eagles, leading the team in attack percentage(.323) and aces(16). The sophomore averages 2.00 kills per set and is third on the team with a 0.66 blocks per set average. Bacon has three solo blocks and 20 block assists.

Makenna Collins provides the main Eastern defender in reception, averaging 3.94 digs per set and has only six reception errors. Collins has six double digit dig games to her this season, with a career-high 31 against Memphis.

Scouting the Red Wolves

Arkansas State is 5-4 this season and are 2-2 in neutral site games. The Red Wolves dropped their last three games after playing in the Ball State Tournament last weekend. The team fell to Ball State(0-3), Green Bay(0-3) and Alabama(1-3). As a team, Arkansas St. averages 12.1 kills per set and is hitting .231, while allowing 10.7 kills per set and a .179 attack percentage to opponents.

Outside hitter Macey Putt leads the Red Wolves attack, averaging 4.09 kills per set on a .239 hitting percentage. At the net, middle blocker Kyla Wiersema is a key to the defense with 27.0 blocks, getting five solo and 22 assists.

Eastern Washington has a 2-0 record against Arkansas St., going 1-0 in neutral site games. The Eagles and Red Wolves have not played since September of 1994, where Eastern swept the game, 3-0.

Scouting the Lumberjacks

Stephen F. Austin started the season well, holding a 9-1 record and a perfect 4-0 at home. The Lumberjacks suffered their first loss of the season to Houston Baptist this past Saturday, 0-3. The game was part of the Southern Mississippi Tournament, where SFA also defeated USM(3-2) and Mississippi Valley State(3-0). The Lumberjacks are hitting .239 as a team and averaging 13.9 kills per set. They allow a .176 attack percentage and 12.8 kills per set.

Middle blocker Ielan Bradley is SFA’s top scorer, with 3.19 kills per set and hitting a strong, .317. Outside hitter Leah Powell provides a second effective scorer, adding 2.97 kills per set on a .181 percentage. The Lumberjacks have made habit out of blocking, recording 79 total this season. Middle blocker Jamyah Anderson leads the way with 1.11 per set followed by another middle, Izabella Ortiz, with 0.92 per set.

Eastern has faced Stephen F. Austin only one other time in history, dating back to August of 1997. The Eagles defeated the Lumberjacks, 3-0, in DeKalb, Ill. ­

Scouting the Lions

Texas A&M University-Commerce has struggled to start the season, with a 2-8 record and 1-5 in neutral games. The Lions competed in the Mountaineer Classic last week, going 1-2. They defeated Presbyterian(3-0) but lost to Appalachian State(1-3) and Furman(1-3). TAMC has an 11.4 kills per set average and is hitting .132 this season. They allow opponents a .181 attack percentage and 12.4 kills per set.

Reese Fetty provides the offense for the Lions, averaging 2.83 kills per set as an outside hitter and a .124 hitting percentage. Celeste Vela is the team’s starting setter, and she averages 8.57 assists per set and also has 33 kills. At middle blocker, Taryn Cast carriers a 1.11 blocks per set averages, tallying an impressive 10 solo blocks and 29 assists.

Saturday’s game will be the first meeting between Eastern Washington and Texas A&M University-Commerce in program history.

Up Next

Big Sky competition begins next week, as Eastern Washington stays on the road to play Montana State on Thursday, Sep. 22 at 6 p.m. Eastern will have its regular season home opener against Portland State on Saturday, Sep. 24 at 7 p.m.


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