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Volleyball Battles Hard; Drops 3-2 Decision to EWU

Oct. 14, 2008

SPOKANE, Wash. - Seemingly out of the match, down 2-0, the Gonzaga University women's volleyball squad battled with grit and determination to win two-straight and force a fifth set with Eastern Washington University Monday evening at the Martin Centre. The Bulldogs improbably comeback fell short though as the Eagles won the deciding fifth set 15-11 to earn a heart pounding 3-2 non-conference victory (25-14, 25-20, 15-25, 26-24, 15-11).

The loss dropped the Zags record to 6-14 while the Eagles improved to 8-9 with the win.

It was senior Elaina Renius who rallied her team and helped GU forge a comeback on EWU. Not deterred by losing the first two sets, Renius and the Bulldogs come out of the intermission on fire. Renius, who only had six kills in the first two sets combined, had eight of Gonzaga's 18 kills in the third set to pace the Bulldogs to the lopsided 10 point victory. Gonzaga hit a smoking .417 in the crucial third set and had 19 digs.

Gonzaga continued its momentum in the fourth set, squeaking out a two-point victory. The Bulldogs, tied 24-24, forced the Cora Kellerman, of EWU, to mishit back-to-back attack attempts to claim the victory. Freshman Denise Van de Mortel and sophomore Caitlin Cozad secured the win by combining to stuff Kellerman's second kill attempt.

The Bulldogs and Eagles battled back and forth in the decisive fifth set, with neither team taking more than a one-point advantage until back-to-back attack errors by junior Layne Brosky broke a 9-9 tie and gave Eastern Washington some breathing room at 11-9. Two kills by Renius cut the Eagles lead to 12-11, but that was all the offense Gonzaga had as EWU scored the final three points to win the set and match.

Renius finished the contest with a career-high 24 kills. The middle blocker only had five errors on 39 attempts for a team-best .487 attacking clip. Renius also tied her career-high in digs, collecting six, and added three blocks and one service ace. Brosky also finished with double-digit kills, tallying 12.Van de Mortel passed out 49 assists as GU closed out the match with 56 total team kills and a .176 hitting percentage. The setter also had nine digs, two blocks and two kills on the night.

Gonzaga held the huge advantage in digs, 59-49, while Eastern Washington had the edge in blocks, 13-9.

The Eagles was led by Alysha Cook and Hayley Hills who both had 16 kills on the night.

The Bulldogs will resume West Coast Conference action Thursday, Oct. 16 when they play at Pepperdine University. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m.