No.5 Vikings topple Central Washington in four sets
Sept. 25, 2008
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Outside hitter Megan Amundson (So., Stanwood) had 14 kills as nationally ranked Western Washington University defeated Central Washington University, 25-18, 25-19, 18-25, 25-21, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball match Thursday on Haggen Court at Sam Carver Gymnasium.
The Vikings, rated No.5 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, remained unbeaten at 10-0, the best start in school history.
It was the 18th consecutive GNAC victory for Western, the defending conference champion, and the 11th straight home triumph for the Vikings, who have won 76 of 82 matches at Carver Gym since 2000.
Central Washington slipped to 10-5 overall, 2-1 in the GNAC, despite a match and career-high 17 kills from outside hitter Erin Norris.
The Vikings won the opening two sets and seemed to be in good position to win the third, leading 16-13. But Central fought back with seven straight points to take a 20-16 advantage and forced a fourth set. Norris had eight kills in the third set, and had two kills and two blocks in the decisive run.
In the fourth set, neither team led by more than two points until back-to-back service aces by middle blocker Tiana Roma (Sr., Edmonds/Edmonds-Woodway) gave Western a 21-18 edge. The Wildcats pulled to within one at 21-20, but Western closed out the match by scoring four of the last six points.
Middle blocker Angie Alvord (Sr., Laurel/Meridian) had 12 kills for Western. Roma added nine kills and a match-high seven blocks, and outside hitter Emily Jepsen (Fr., Kennewick/Kamiakin) had nine kills and no errors in 15 attempts, notching seven kills in eight attempts through the first four sets.
Libero Allison Gotz (So., Bothell/Archbishop Murphy), who entered the match ranked second nationally in NCAA Division II in digs at 6.32 per set, had a match-high 26 digs for the Vikings.
Western, which was the NCAA II national runner-up last year, has won 31 of its last 32 matches. The lone loss was 3-1 to Concordia-St. Paul in the NCAA II championship match.
The Vikings next travel to Northwest Nazarene University for a GNAC match Saturday (7 p.m.).
COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL: Vikings run record to 10-0
by Michelle Nolan FOR THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
With Western Washington University off to its best volleyball start, coach Diane Flick agreed she had just enjoyed the school's loudest and most supportive early season crowd.
Senior co-captain Angie Alvord feels that talking statistics is a jinx, but she took pride in attracting a good number of the 725 fans who saw Western's 3-1 victory over rival Central Washington on Thursday, Sept. 25, at Carver Gym.
"All day long I would see people in the halls, and when they would ask about the game, I'd tell them they didn't really have any other plans," she said after logging 12 kills and a match-high four aces as Western (10-0 overall, 2-0 GNAC) defeated Central 25-18, 25-19, 18-25, 25-21.
"Then I'd say to each student, 'You're coming to the game,'" said Alvord. Her selling points were enhanced because this was the first match since classes started, and students were curious to see the program that produced a national Division II runnerup last year.
Western turned in one acrobatic play after another to frustrate Central (10-5, 2-1) as the Vikings often went all out for many of their 72 digs, including 26 by sophomore libero Allison Gotz.
Flick thought one of junior setter Kari Rice's 10 digs was especially inspiring with the score tied at 17 in the fourth game.
Rice tumbled all the way out of bounds to make a save, setting up a kill by Alvord on the other side of the floor. In quick order, senior Tiana Roma had a block and served two aces, putting the Vikings up 21-18.
Alvord soon applied the clincher with a floating kill perfectly placed near the back line, giving the Vikings a 24-21 advantage as the Western fans began to chant "undefeated, undefeated."
"Kari was described in high school as slow-footed, and I told her I didn't believe that," Flick said. "I'll keep putting that on her. She really played a complete game (with 46 assists and three blocks)."
Alvord, who began to develop her powerful jump serve at Meridian, has made it a noteworthy weapon while amassing 30 aces this season and 143 for her career. She ranks 10th in school history but is only 30 aces out of the No. 2 spot.
"My aunt told me recently I was leading the nation in aces, but then I went without any for a while, so I don't even want to know those stats now," Alvord said.
"We've talked to Angie about becoming more of a go-to hitter," said Flick, who has a career mark of 185-47 in nine seasons. "I think Angie likes that pressure."
Megan Amundson, a 5-11 sophomore outside hitter, led the Vikings with 14 kills. The aggressive Roma , a 6-0 middle blocker and a returning starter along with Alvord, turned in a match-high six blocks plus nine kills. Freshman defensive specialist Haleigh Adkins had nine digs and sophomore outside hitter Shasta Bennett had 10 digs.
Alvord was pleased to see how Emily Jepsen, a 5-11 freshman from Kennewick, captured the fans' imagination with nine kills, including two key smashes in the final game.
"I just look at Emily sometimes and say to myself, 'You're so good,' " Alvord said. "I'm just glad she chose to play with us."
"I think what pleased me most was that we fought hard and made some adjustments we had to believe in," Flick said."I think our team has a lot of potential, but we'll have to find our own identity."
Central's only player from a Whatcom County high school, senior outside hitter Lauren Vercammen from Squalicum, also drew some cheers. She contributed two blocks and a kill.
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