No.18 WWU splits on first day at Sonoma State tourney

Kayla Erickson

Box Score

ROHNERT PARK, Calif. - Middle blocker Kayla Erickson (So., Gig Harbor/Peninsula) had 12 kills in 14 attempts with just one error for a .786 hitting percentage and outside hitter Marlayna Geary (Sr., Tacoma/Bellarmine) added a match-high 14 kills as nationally ranked Western Washington University bounced back with a sweep of Cal State Stanislaus, 25-13, 25-21, 25-21, following a tough loss to UC San Diego, 21-25, 15-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-13, in first-day action Friday at the Sonoma State Seawolf Spike Invitational Volleyball Tournament being held on the SSU campus.

The Vikings, ranked No.18 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division II Coaches' Poll, are now 5-1. UCSD, rated No.25, improved to 3-2, and Cal State Stanislaus dropped to 2-4.

"It's always good to come back after a match like that, especially when it's an emotionally draining one," said WWU head coach Diane Flick (13th year, 254-71).

"Erickson is doing a great job. She's putting herself in position to take swings on the ball and she's making smart shots with them."

In the first set versus CSUS, the Vikings took an early 11-4 advantage. Trailing 18-16 in set two, they closed it out with a 9-3 run, and in the third set they used a 10-4 rally for a 15-11 lead and held on for the sweep.

The Warriors were led by the 14 kills of Andrea Fell.

In its opening match against UCSD, WWU fell for the first time this season despite winning the first two sets and leading midway through the third.

Geary had a team-high 21 kills, 10 digs and five blocks. Erickson contributed 18 kills and a .438 attack percentage and four blocks, and opposite-side hitter Jennica McPherson (R-Fr., Seattle/Kennedy) had 14 kills and 11 digs.

Libero Samantha Hutchinson (So., University Place/Curtis) added 30 digs for the Vikings, and setter Laurie Yearout (Sr., Spokane/Lewis & Clark) had 64 assists. Both figures were match highs.

UCSD was led by the match-high 26 kills (.361 hitting pct.) of Danielle Dahle and the 19 kills and match-high seven blocks of Sara McCutchan.

WWU won the first two sets, scoring five straight points to take a 17-12 advantage in the opening game and having seven consecutive points for a commanding 21-11 lead in game two.

In the third set, the Vikings had a run of six points to take a 15-14 lead and were ahead 18-17, but USCD avoided a possible sweep by scoring seven straight points and nine of the last 11.

The fourth set was tied at 19-all before the Tritons scored six of the last eight points, and the fifth set was knotted at 13-13, UCSD scoring the last two points to win the match.

Geary, who had a string of six double-doubles in kills and digs snapped in the CSUS match, upped her career kill total to 1,052, climbing to seventh on WWU's all-time list.

The Vikings close out the tourney with two matches Saturday, meeting Chico State at 1:30 p.m. and facing host and No.23-ranked Sonoma State at 7 p.m.