BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The No. 10-ranked Western Washington University volleyball team won its fourth consecutive match with a three-set sweep over Western Oregon Saturday night in front of 876 fans on WECU Court at Carver Gym.
Game scores were 25-11, 25-17, 25-14 in favor of the Vikings in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference match.
WWU improved to 11-3 overall and remains in a second-place tie in the GNAC with Central Washington with a 5-1 league mark. Western Oregon falls to 5-8 overall and 1-5 in GNAC play.
Junior outside hitter Abby Phelps (Manson, WA/Chelan) led Western’s balanced attack with another double-double, going for 11 kills (.346 hitting percentage) and 14 digs. Phelps has now recorded a league-leading 12 double-doubles this season.
“Tonight was one of our best, if not the best, team performances of the season,” said 18th-year head coach Diane Flick-Williams. “I felt like we had contributions from a lot of players, and when you put it all together, it was a great result.”
The Buckner sisters both turned in solid performances, with senior opposite Joellee Buckner (Colville, WA) recording 8 kills and 14 digs, while younger sister Aubrey notched a team-high 15 digs.
Junior setter Brette Boesel (Brewster, WA) ran an efficient offense with a match-high 33 assists.
After starting the season with 10 straight road matches, WWU finished the four-game homestand with a perfect 4-0 record, averaging 848 fans per contest.
“It was really great to get back into our routine and play in front of some really good crowds in Carver Gym,” added Flick-Williams. “What a great atmosphere with our opener last week, and the student turnout this week was amazing. We can’t thank the fans enough for the support.”
Western Oregon was led by 10 kills from Mariella Vandenkooy and a match-high 19 digs from Libbie Hoene.
The Vikings opened with a dominating first set, handing the Wolves a 25-11 defeat to go up 1-0. Western pulled away from an early 4-3 lead, going on an 11-3 run to take a 15-6 lead and never looked back. Joelle Buckner led the Vikings with 4 kills (.333) and Phelps tallied 8 digs.
WWU went up 2-0 with a 25-17 win in the second set, fueled by a mid-set 9-1 run. The Vikings and Wolves were deadlocked at 13-13, before Western pulled away going on a 9-1 run and eventually the 25-17 victory. Phelps led WWU with 4 kills, while Hall had 3 blocks.
Western sealed the sweep with a 25-14 third-set triumph. WOU led early in the set before the Vikings tied things up at 8-8. From there WWU went on a 6-1 run to grab a 14-9 lead, but WOU answered with a 5-2 run to pull to within two at 16-14. Clinging to the two-point lead, the Vikings ended the set and match going on a 9-0 run. Phelps tallied 6 of her match-high 11 kills in the final set, and Hall added 5 kills on a .833 hitting percentage.
WWU returns to the road next week with its annual trip to Alaska, facing Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday (7 pm AKT/8 pm PT) and then nationally-ranked Alaska Anchorage on Saturday (7 pm AKT/8 pm PT). Both matches will be streamed online WWUVikings.com/Live and available via the GNAC channel on several streaming devices (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, AndroidTV).
“Going to Alaska is always a challenging in terms of travel, but we are looking forward to playing against two quality opponents,” added Flick-Williams. “It is a great chance for us to get better early in the week in practice and to continue to improve when we get in competition.”
— WWU Athletics (@WWUAthletics) October 1, 2017
— GNAC Sports (@GNACsports) October 1, 2017
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Abby Phelps Named First Team AVCA All-American
Phelps earns First Team honor, while Brette Boesel and Joellee Buckner named Honorable Mention
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WWU has 20-match winning streak snapped in 3-0 loss to finish season 27-4
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WWU is coming off 3-1 victory over Alaska Anchorage
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Phelps and Hall Sweep GNAC Volleyball Awards
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