WWU finishes tourney with epic win over No.23 Sonoma State
ROHNERT PARK, Calif. - With none of the sets decided by more than three points, Western Washington University prevailed against host Sonoma State, 22-25, 25-23, 33-31, 26-24, in an epic battle between two nationally ranked teams Saturday that concluded the Seawolf Spike Invitational Volleyball Tournament held on the SSU campus.
The Vikings, ranked No.18 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division II Coaches' Poll, improved to 7-1 and tied for the tourney title as they defeated Chico State, 25-14, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23, earlier in the day. Sonoma State, rated No.23, fell to 6-2, and the loss was Chico State's first after opening with six wins.
"I wish that I had the words to describe how well we played, "said WWU head coach Diane Flick (13th year, 256-71). "It wasn't just about executing, it was the fact when we got in a tight situation, we just rallied back and forth and took advantage of an opportunity here and there, and that was the difference in three of those games."
WWU outside hitter Marlayna Geary (Sr., Tacoma/Bellarmine) had a season-high 25 kills, libero Samantha Hutchinson (So., University Place/Curtis) 33 digs, and setter Laurie Yearout (Sr., Spokane/Lewis & Clark) 58 assists, all match highs.
Geary, who hit for a .489 percentage, also had 14 digs, the double-double being her seventh in eight matches this season.
Middle blocker Kayla Erickson (So., Gig Harbor/Peninsula) had 14 kills for WWU and Emily Boerger (Jr., Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck) added 10 kills and a match-high five blocks. Kelsey Hull led Sonoma State with 17 kills and 16 digs.
There were 14 ties and seven lead changes in the first set until SSU took the lead for good, 18-17, on a kill by Allison Sather.
WWU came back to claim the second set, breaking a 23-23 tie with kills by Moore and Geary. There were 14 ties in the third set, the last at 31-all, before the Vikings scored consecutive points on a kill by Geary and a service ace by Yearout.
In the fourth set, WWU built an 11-4 lead, but Sonoma State rallied and there were eight ties, the last at 24-all, before the Vikings ended it with a kill by Erickson and a block by Boerger.
Against Chico State, two Vikings had doubles-doubles. Geary finished with 16 kills and 12 digs and Jennica McPherson (R-Fr., Seattle/Kennedy) had 11 kills with a .429 hitting percentage and 12 digs. Erickson also had 11 kills and Boerger added 10.
Hutchinson posted a match-high 24 digs and Yearout had 48 assists.
"It's always good to play a team like Chico State because they always play with high emotion and are digging a lot of balls, so it forces you to stay patient in order to beat them," Flick said. "I think we did that toward the latter part of the match and I'm really proud of our players for keeping the game simple and coming up with the plays we needed to when they counted."
"We had great balance on offense. I think Laurie again is doing a good job of getting everybody involved and making good choices.
In the first set, WWU scored five straight points for an 18-13 lead and stretched that out to a nine-point win. After losing the second set, the Vikings took the third and fourth sets, both hard-fought affairs, as Erickson had set winning kills in both.
WWU began tourney play Friday, splitting a pair of matches. Following a loss to UC San Diego, 21-25, 15-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-13, the Vikings swept Cal State Stanislaus, 25-13, 25-21, 25-21. x
The Vikings, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference preseason favorite, begin league play this weekend, entertaining Montana State Billings on Friday (7 p.m.) and defending champion Seattle Pacific on Saturday (7 p.m.).
Western Washington Vikings Sidebar Links
|Email this article||Printer-friendly format|