GNAC-leading Vikings sweep Saint Martin's
Oct. 15, 2011
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Outside hitter Marlayna Geary (Jr., Tacoma/Bellarmine) and middle blocker Emily Jepsen (Sr., Kennewick/Kamiakin) combined for 23 kills as Western Washington University swept Saint Martin's University, 25-16, 25-12, 25-14, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball match Saturday at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.
The Vikings improved to 11-4 overall and stayed atop the GNAC standings at 9-2. Geary had a match-high 12 kills and Jepson added 11.
Saint Martin's, which snapped a seven-match losing streak with a victory at Simon Fraser on Thursday, fell to 4-13 overall and 3-8 in conference action. Outside hitter Kristyn Ross led the Saints with seven kills.
WWU had to rally from early deficits in each of the first two sets. Saint Martin's used a run of five straight points to take a 9-7 lead in the opening frame, and held a 13-11 advantage before the Vikings closed out the set on a 14-3 charge that included runs of six and five consecutive points.
In the second set, the Saints held an 8-6 lead, but Western ran off 10 straight points, a run that included five kills by Geary and four by Jepsen, and were never challenged after that. The pair each had seven kills in the frame, combining to go 14-of-21 without an error.
WWU used a run of eight straight points in the third set, opening up a 14-7 lead and never giving up consecutive points after that.
"We did a better job tonight of not letting big runs happen against us, instead we were creating good runs ourselves," said Western coach Diane Flick (12th year).
The Vikings finished with a .297 attack percentage, having 44 kills and 11 errors on 111 attempts. Saint Martin's was at .000, having 26 kills and 26 errors in 134 attempts.
Libero Samantha Hutchinson (R-Fr., University Place/Curtis) had a match-high 26 digs for Western, with Geary adding 23.
The triumph was Western's 26th straight over the Saints. WWU holds a 47-5 series advantage over Saint Martin's, last losing to the Saints in 1999.
The Vikings have lost just 12 times in 114 home matches (.905 winning percentage) since they went to a SportCourt surface in 2000. Overall, Western is 217-78 (.736) in 38 years at Carver Gym.
WWU is on the road next week for a pair of GNAC counters, traveling to Alaska Anchorage on Thursday (7 p.m.) and Alaska Fairbanks on Saturday (3 p.m.).
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