HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Eastern advanced to the NCAA regional final after eliminating Christopher Newport 25-18, 25-15, 25-20 on Saturday.
The Eagles are one of 16 teams in the country still standing, thanks in part to a solid defensive effort that kept CNU to a .048 hitting percentage. The Eagles held CNU's freshmen outside hitters Briana Sutton and Harper Smith to three kills each. Sutton and Smith had each tallied 16 kills Friday night against Cabrini. Neither of those players played against Eastern earlier in the year, but Eastern head coach Mark Birtwistle made sure the Eagles had prepared well for them.
Eastern senior Kearby Benak led the team with 12 digs and also had seven kills. She commented that Eastern's block helped limit the opportunities the Captains had at the net.
"All around defensively, every single person did their job," she said. The Eagles finished the match with seven blocks.
The Captains provided a strong presence at the net, blocking 10 Eastern attacks.
Junior Lauren Sproles had a team-high nine kills. Erin Hillman and Katrina Pisch added eight. Pisch hit .467 for the match. Stephanie Elechko and Rikki Schlager put down five kills each. Schlager, the setter, scored those five kills on seven attempts.