Observer Staff

The 10th-ranked Eastern Oregon University volleyball team added two more wins Tuesday to wrap up the Florida portion of its season-opening road trip undefeated with sweeps of Florida Memorial and St. Thomas in Miami Gardens.

The Mountaineers used a balanced offensive attack to defeat Florida Memorial in the opening match, winning 25-20, 25-16, 25-12. No EOU player reached double digits in kills, as Cambree Scott led the offense with eight kills and Hailee Ackerman had seven. But Eastern received a set’s worth of free points in the form of 27 attack errors by the Lions.

Madison Pilon had 20 assists and seven digs for EOU. Kylie McMurtrey added 11 digs, Scott had three block assists, and Ackerman had a pair of aces.

Eastern didn’t take control of the first set — one that featured 10 ties and five lead changes — until a late 8-1 run sparked by Scott and Ackerman pushed EOU ahead for good at 23-18. Scott had three kills during the rally — including one to start it and one to finish it. Ackerman had two aces, and the duo teamed for a block. Scott added one more kill late to end the set.

Eastern was never threatened in the second, using two 5-0 runs and a pair of four-point spurts to quickly distance itself from FMU. The Lions did the most damage to themselves with nine attacks either into the net or out of bounds, two bad sets and two service errors. Breanna Shaffer’s kill to cap the fourth mini-run by EOU gave it the largest lead of the set at 24-15, and Eastern closed it out two points later.

A 7-0 run broke the final set open, with an ace by Brooke Dodge putting Eastern up 10-4 to finish the rally. A kill by Kaci Cox during a 4-0 run helped put EOU up 19-9, and a final 5-0 run — with a kill by Scott surrounded by a bevy of FMU attack errors — ended the match.

Daphinie Correa had seven kills to lead Florida Memorial, and Francheska Rivera had 14 assists. The error-prone Lions, in addition to the plethora of attack errors, also had eight service errors in the match.

EOU scrapped to win the first two of its three sets against St. Thomas, then got rolling in the third set on the way to a 25-22, 25-22, 25-11 sweep.

The Mountaineers trailed the Bobcats late in the first set, 21-19, after a Carli Bastel kill for STU. But kills by Megan Bunn, Nina Bailey and Shaffer were part of a 6-1 run that gave EOU the set.

The Mountaineers again had to rally in the second set. Eastern trailed by as much as five twice, and never led until a kill by Ackerman put EOU up 19-18. St. Thomas went up 21-20 on a Kendall Brock kill and was still up 22-21 before Eastern grabbed the final four points. Kills by Ackerman and Shaffer, and an ace by Ackerman, helped finish the set.

Eastern rode the momentum and quickly put away the final set, scoring the first four points and eight of the first 11. EOU took a 15-8 lead on a block by Ackerman and Jet Taylor, went up 10 points on an STU attack error, and reached a 23-10 lead on a Shaffer kill. Taylor Tibbetts and Taylor finished the match shortly after with a block.

Ackerman led EOU with 10 kills and was one of four players with two aces apiece. Shaffer added seven kills, and both Scott and Bunn had three block assists. Aspen Christiansen led the back row with 17 digs, Bunn and McMurtrey had 11 each, and Pilon dished out 21 assists.

Amanda Allende had eight kills for STU.

Eastern (4-0 overall) gets set for a big weekend in Hastings, Nebraska, where it’ll face off with three top 25 opponents, beginning with No. 3 Grand View (Iowa) Friday.

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