Megan Murphey had a career-high 25 digs in the five-set loss
Oct. 28, 2011
The Montana volleyball team's postseason chances took a hit Friday night with the team's third, five-set loss of the Big Sky Conference season. The Grizzlies fell at Eastern Washington, 25-22, 20-25, 20-25, 25-14, 8-15.
The loss snapped the Grizzlies' winning streak at three and kept them winless in their last 16 trips to Cheney, Wash., dating back to 1996.
The Eagles (11-11, 7-4 BSC) won their third straight match and improved their favorable positioning in the Big Sky standings. EWU sits alone in fourth place but is just one match out of first.
Montana (8-11, 5-6 BSC) had hit .233 over its previous six matches, going 5-1 to get back into the Big Sky race. The Eagles held the Grizzlies to .161 hitting Friday and finished with 17 more kills for their second five-set win over Montana this season.
"For some unknown reason we came out tentative tonight instead of being a team that should have been full of confidence," UM coach Jerry Wagner said.
"We were too tentative to start the match, and when you do that you set yourself up for an up and down night, and that's what we had."
Montana positioned itself for a breakthrough road win with its victory in the first set, but Eastern Washington hit .289 over the next two sets to take a 2-1 lead.
The Grizzlies looked like the team they've been the last month in the fourth set, siding out at a rate of 85 percent and hitting .276.
Despite the momentum swing, the Eagles jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the fifth set, and Montana never caught up, hitting .000 while Eastern Washington was putting down 11 kills on .455 hitting.
It was EWU's seventh five-set win of the season.
Though the match went five sets, the Grizzlies finished with just 51 kills. Thirty-eight of those kills came from the outside, with sophomore Kayla Reno totaling 14 on .229 hitting, senior Amy Roberts 13 and freshman Kelsey Schile 11.
Roberts, with 19, and Reno, with 17, also combined for 36 digs.
Montana got just eight kills from its middles, though senior Brittany Quick led both teams with eight blocks, helping the Grizzlies to a 10.0 to 7.0 team blocks advantage.
Cora Kellerman had 25 kills on .333 hitting to lead Eastern Washington, which hit .219.
Montana will play the Big Sky Conference's hottest team Saturday night. Portland State (12-11, 8-3 BSC), which has won four straight matches, moved into a tie for first place in the Big Sky with Northern Colorado with a quick 3-0 victory over Montana State Friday night, 25-17, 25-12, 25-23.
The Vikings defeated the Grizzlies in five sets when the teams met in Missoula last month.
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