Viks volleyball eclipses Eagles

On Saturday, Portland State women’s volleyball easily swept the visiting Eastern Washington Eagles, 3-0, before an announced 615 fans at the Stott Center.

On Saturday, Portland State women’s volleyball easily swept the visiting Eastern Washington Eagles, 3-0, before an announced 615 fans at the Stott Center.

For the Vikings (10-7, 5-1 Big Sky), the match provided the perfect opportunity to avenge last weekend’s loss on the road at Sacramento State, which handed Portland State its first conference loss of the season.

Led by the offensive duo of outside hitters Whitney Phillips and Megan Ellis, who combined for 25 kills and four service aces, the Viks made up for last weekend’s loss by winning their 11th-straight home conference match.

Saturday’s first set started out slowly for the Viks. The Eagles (3-13, 2-4 Big Sky) pushed to an early 4-2 lead before the Vikings kicked it into high gear to take a 7-6 lead, from which they would never look back.

The Vikings had service aces from three players in the opening set, two from sophomore Ellis, and one each from senior Phillips and freshman setter Garyn Schlatter. The Viks finished the set with a 25-15 score off a kill from Schlatter that was assisted by Ellis.

Phillips opened the second set by giving the Viks an early 3-0 lead from three-straight kills, and the momentum did not stop there. The Viks never trailed, but instead ran away with the set and, at one point, held a 12-point lead with the score 20-8. Fittingly, Phillips took the set-point with a hard-hit kill for the 25-14 win.

Portland State had 16 assists in the second set, something Phillips said was a big reason for her and her team’s success.

“I thought we passed extremely well,” Phillips said. “We were able to spread our offense around a lot, so when I did get set I had holes in the blocks—which is awesome on the passers, and Garyn’s part.”

Phillips came out of the three matches with a team-high 15 kills. Ellis recorded 10 kills of her own and Schlatter chipped in seven.

Portland State head coach Michael Seemann gave credit to his team’s ability to make solid first contact during serve reception, something he said is helping the team a great deal.

“Diana (Villalpando) is doing a great job of keeping us balanced and Garyn (Schlatter) is doing a much better job of distributing the ball around and giving a lot of hitters a lot of good windows in terms of being able to put balls away,” Seeman said in a statement released by the school.

Set three looked very much like the second.  Eastern Washington claimed the first point off of a kill from senior outside hitter Alysha Cook, but from there Portland State would steal the lead and run with it to the end. At 8-5, the Viks went on a six point run which included four kills from Ellis. The Viks would finish the set 25-16.

Namely in sets one and two, Eastern Washington held Portland State to some extensive volleys. Senior middle blocker and outside hitter Christie Hamilton said that it was a mixture of both the defense and offense that allowed PSU to grab the points.

“I think definitely staying patient on defense allows us to be really scrappy and then get ourselves good passes the second and third time,” Hamilton said. “It just allows us to stay in it.”

The Vikings were all about accuracy on Saturday. They recorded just nine errors and hit a .394 percentage, which is the second-highest hitting percentage this season. The first came from Thursday’s game against Seattle, where the Viks went for .432, also with nine errors.

This is the first time in Portland State’s Division-I history that the team has posted single-digit numbers for errors in two matches in a single season.

For the Vikings’ individuals, Phillips and Ellis accounted for over half of the team’s 47 total kills, and each also posted nine digs. Senior libero Diana Villalpanda led with 11 digs, and Schlatter led in assists with 29, while also chipping in eight digs.

On the Eagles’ side it was Cook who led for kills with nine, and setter Laney Brown led her team with 22 assists.

Saturday’s win gives Portland State two more points toward winning the inaugural Dam Cup, a yearlong competition with Eastern Washington that covers five sports. With this weekend’s wins in women’s soccer and volleyball, the Vikings have earned three of the 17 points possible.

The Viks stay at home on the Park Blocks next weekend as they host Northern Arizona at 7 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, it will be a match of the Big Sky’s top teams as second-ranked Portland State hosts undefeated and top-ranked Northern Colorado at 8 p.m. at the Stott. ?

Set scores


Eastern Washington        15    14    16

Portland State                  25    25    25