Eastern Oregon’s Taylor Stewart digs the ball during the second game of the Mountaineers’ sweep over Northwest University Friday at Quinn Coliseum. (Casey Kellas/The Observer)
The No. 16 Eastern Oregon University volleyball team continued to prove it’s one of the top teams in the Cascade Collegiate Conference with a 3-0 sweep of visiting Northwest University Friday night in Quinn Coliseum.
The Mountaineers beat the Eagles 25-14, 25-20, 25-19.
“I thought we played good,” junior middle hitter Casey Loper said. “I think we obviously had a better game in the first set than the last two. I don’t think it was a matter of winning. I think it was a matter of remaining the same every set.”
EOU raced out to a 9-2 lead in the opening set. The Mountaineers stretched the lead to 12 points at 20-8 before closing it out.
But Northwest made some adjustments and made EOU work in the second set. The set had eight ties and four lead changes. With the score tied at 11-all, the Mountaineers went on a 7-1 run to take an 18-12 lead.
Northwest made a late run but came up short and EOU took a two-set advantage.
“We had some issues in the second game and third game with communication and finding that fire that we had in the first game,” EOU head coach Kaki Morehead said. “We need to make sure against every opponent we play that we keep that consistency and that fire and that need to beat somebody as bad as we can.”
The third set wasn’t as back and forth as the second set. The third set saw four ties and just one lead change. EOU had a 9-8 lead before going on a 12-6 run to stretch the lead to 21-14.
Again the Eagles rallied late before Eastern Oregon closed it out to earn the win.
Loper had a match-high 13 kills, while Stefani Sorenson finished with 10 for the Mountaineers. Karly Stack had 28 assists for EOU, and Taylor Stewart finished with 28 digs.
The win was the Mountaineers’ first victory as the 16th-ranked team in the NAIA. The ranking is EOU’s highest in program history.
“It’s just a number,” Morehead said. “We want to be higher, and we plan on getting there. We deserve to be there. But we gotta work hard to get there.”
For the second straight night and third consecutive conference game, EOU swept The Evergreen State College Saturday night. The Mountaineers won 25-12, 25-20, 25-19
EOU was led by junior Sorenson’s game-high 15 kills. Loper had 10 and Stewart added seven in the win.
Stack had 25 assists and Jessalyn Smith had 15 digs.
Eastern Oregon hits the road for its two conference matches this week as they travel to Northwest Christian Friday and Corban Saturday.
Both matches are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.