Experienced Vikings seek consecutive national berths for first time since 2007
COLLEGE: Enters season with career total of 605 digs, which ranks 25th on WWU's all-time list ... Played in all 27 matches and 88 sets as junior in 2013 ... Credited with 262 digs (2.99 avg. per set) ... Had 12 double-figure dig matches with career-high 20 vs. Alaska Anchorage on 10/19/13 ... Competed in all 28 matches and 96 sets as sophomore in 2012 ... Credited with 200 digs (2.08) ... Played in 20 matches and 62 sets as redshirt freshman in 2011 ... Credited with 142 digs (2.29) ... Redshirt in 2010 ... Three letters.
HIGH SCHOOL: Twice first-team Tacoma News Tribune all-Area pick at Curtis High School ... Also all-South Puget Sound League South Division choice as senior, helping Vikings to 18-3 record, second straight West Central District title and second place at Class 4A state tournament ... State all-tournament pick ... Had 360 kills with .312 attack percentage, 292 digs and 33 service aces ... Had school-record 31 kills in match against Graham-Kapowsin ... Played on teams that finished fifth at state as junior, missing most of league season with injured shoulder, and seventh as sophomore ... CHS inspirational award winner as junior and team MVP as sophomore ... Won Junior Olympic Bronze Medal in beach volleyball ... In summer of 2007, earned trip to Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. ... Started and lettered three years ... Also lettered three years in both basketball and tennis ... Honorable mention all-league in basketball as junior.
PERSONAL: Major is communications.
Cotter gives it her all for Vikings volleyball
By ALEX BIGELOW
THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
December 4, 2013
Emily Cotter's bruised and beaten body always reminds her that there was a volleyball match the night before.
The discolored blotches of skin and achy knees are a welcomed feeling and sight, she said, because for the junior for Western Washington University's volleyball team, those are evidence that she did all she could to help the Vikings to victory.
"I would love to wake up every morning feeling sore if I knew it meant we won every game," she said in a phone interview.
Victory, in large part, has more times than not been the remedy to her postgame wariness.
Cotter and WWU, after posting a 23-3 overall record and a Great Northwest Conference leading 16-2 mark, are set to face Sonoma State in the first round of the NCAA Division II West Regional tournament Thursday, Dec. 5, in San Bernardino, Calif. The Vikings enter winners of nine consecutive matches, having only dropped two sets in the near month-long run.
Statistics leave much to the imagination when describing Cotter's role for the 10th-ranked team in the country. As a defensive-minded player, she doesn't accumulate floor-thumping kills like her teammate, Kayla Erickson, or loft well-placed aces like sophomore Jennica McPherson. No, she prefers a rather grittier form of impacting her team.
"My primary goal is to keep the ball alive, and I will do anything to keep the ball from hitting the ground," she said.
Her body may not entirely appreciate the by-any-means-necessary approach she employs, but the diving, sprawling, gliding and full-blown reckless abandonment she plays with has proven to be a working formula.
Her teammates, specifically, have come to appreciate that all-out mentality.
"Any ball that is hit her way, she always gets digs that nobody thinks are possible," said senior hitter Emily Boerger in a phone interview.
The Curtis High School product ranks second on the team with 248 digs - each adding to the next-day soreness she's so fond of - and her three-year career has yielded 590 total as a member of the WWU volleyball team.
Digs may not provide the type of impact a kill does, but to her, the one-handed stab at a ball destined for the floor is equally as powerful.
"I bring the energy and spark to the court," said Cotter, making known the particularly momentum-driving nature of volleyball. "Any game where we are down by a few points and I come in, that's when I need to get things going and create an atmosphere on the court that will translate to more point."
Success and WWU volleyball are near synonymous terms, evidenced by the GNAC conference championship and nearly flawless 23-3 record, but this season has also handed the team moments of adversity. The Vikings hit a rough two-game losing streak in the middle of October, falling to Alaska-Anchorage and Seattle Pacific in five sets and four sets, respectively. At the time, WWU had not lost in Sam Carver Gymnasium for the better part of two years dating back to 2011.
It was during that stretch that Cotter, characterized by Boerger as being someone who provides the team with a sense inspiration, took it upon herself to just be more.
"I think in volleyball, the more energy you have, it makes people around you more relaxed," Cotter said.
The Vikings have yet to taste defeat since that four-set loss to Seattle Pacific on Oct. 24, in Carver Gym, and their eyes are set on a Sonoma State team that gave WWU its first loss of the season on Sept. 14.
"It's a perfect time for revenge," said Cotter, who acknowledged that the team the Vikings faced in mid-September won't be the team they will face Thursday.
The Seawolves enter winners of five straight, holding a competent 25-5 record on the season after finishing second in their conference behind Cal State San Bernardino.