Observer Staff

Eastern Oregon University’s unbeaten run to start the season came to an end.

The 10th-ranked Mountaineers staved off an upset bid by Northwest Christian for a 20-25, 25-15, 25-12, 20-25, 15-12 win over the Beacons Friday, but dropped a match for the first time in 2019, falling to No. 19 Corban Saturday, 20-25, 27-25, 25-21, 25-23. Both road games were Cascade Collegiate Conference matchups.

EOU used a 5-1 run to take control of the decisive set Friday against NCU. A Jet Taylor kill started the rally, and a Cambree Scott and Taylor Tibbetts block capped it for a 6-2 lead. NCU did get back within two on three occasions, but the Beacons pulled no closer as Breanna Shaffer ended the match for the Mountaineers with the final of her team-best 14 kills.

Shaffer was one of three Mountaineers with double-digit kills. Megan Bunn had 13 kills and also had 26 digs, and Scott had 11 kills and seven block assists. Kiley McMurtrey also had 26 digs on the EOU back line. Madison Pilon posted a career-best 47 assists and added 17 digs and five block assists, and Aspen Christiansen had 13 digs.

EOU dominated the second and third sets. A 7-0 run gave Eastern the lead for good in the second at 11-5 on a Scott and Pilon kill, and an 8-1 run later pushed the lead to 22-9 on a Hailee Ackerman kill and a NCU attack error.

A 9-2 run in the third put the Mounties up 15-7 on a Taylor kill, and Eastern finished the set on a 8-2 run, which was started by a Shaffer kill and ended on a NCU attack error.

Cami Lingenfelder had 14 kills and 25 digs for the Beacons, while Makenna Northern had 42 assists and 27 digs.

The Mountaineers’ perfect start to the season was stopped by Corban Saturday as the Warriors took the final three sets.

EOU took the lead for good in the first with a 4-0 run, then ended the set on a 5-2 run, capped with a Taylor kill.

The Mountaineers seemed on their way to a 2-0 lead when a Tibbetts kill put them up 23-20. But Corban rallied with a 5-1 run to take the lead, and Cierra Leopoldino evened the match three points later with an ace.

The teamed jockeyed for the lead in the third before Corban scored nine of the final 13 points to take the set and a 2-1 lead on a kill by Sarena Bartley.

The Mountaineers seemed poised to grab the fourth set and force a deciding finale. The teams traded leads five times early, and EOU went up 22-20, then 23-21, on two Bunn kills.

Corban, though, scored the final four points to take the match. Cassie Cunningham, who turned in a match-best 17 kills, had three kills in the final rally, including the final two to end the match.

Eastern was held to its lowest kill percentage of the season (0.099) and had 24 attack errors, a season-worst. Bunn had 13 kills to lead the offense and added 19 digs. Both Tibbetts and Shaffer had nine kills, and Taylor added eight block assists while Tibbetts, Bunn and Scott had five each. McMurtrey led the team with 22 digs. Pilon dished out 38 assists and had 19 digs, Christiansen had 16 digs, and Sade Williams added 12 digs.

EOU (11-1 overall, 1-1 CCC) visits Walla Walla Tuesday to wrap up a season-opening 13 match road trip, then hosts College of Idaho in its home opener Thursday.

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