Oct. 18, 2012
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Western Washington University took over sole possession of first place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings, defeating Central Washington University, 25-19, 25-20, 25-18, in a GNAC volleyball match Thursday night between two nationally ranked teams at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.
Outside hitter Marlayna Geary (Sr., Tacoma/Bellarmine Prep) tied for match-high honors with 13 kills for the Vikings, ranked No.15 in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division II Coaches' Top 25 Poll. WWU improved to 16-2 overall and 9-1 in the GNAC with its sixth consecutive victory, all sweeps. Geary also had 11 digs as she posted her 12th double-double of the season.
No. 21 Central Washington fell to 14-5 overall, 8-2 in the GNAC, and had a nine-match winning streak snapped. Marcy Hjellum had 13 kills and Emmy Dolan added 12 for the Wildcats, who won the first meeting against WWU this season in four sets Sept. 22 at Ellensburg. That is the Vikings' only loss in their last 13 matches.
WWU had late charges in the first two sets, pulling away from a 14-14 tie with four straight points in the opener, then closing out the second frame with a 6-1 burst that broke a 19-19 tie.
In the final set, the Vikings scored the first point and eventually held a 9-2 lead. CWU never got closer than three after that, and WWU closed out the match with the last four points, two of them on kills by Kelsey Moore (So., Bellevue/Newport), who finished with 11.
Middle blocker Kayla Erickson (So., Gig Harbor/Peninsula) had eight kills and a match-high six blocks for the Vikings.
WWU has won its last 10 home matches and is 5-0 at Carver Gym this season. The Vikings are 23-1 at home since late in 2009.
WWU has a winning percentage of .902(110-12) at home after going to a SportCourt surface in 2000 and is 225-78 overall (74.3 percent) overall at Carver Gym.
Geary now has 1,227 career kills, just one short of a tie for second place with Gretchen Haakenson (1990-93). The school record of 1,379 is held by Meghan Evoy (2001-04).
WWU entertains Northwest Nazarene on Saturday (7 p.m.), Oct. 20, at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.
WWU volleyball takes conference lead after sweep at home
by ANDREW LANG - The Bellingham Herald
Avenging Western's only Great Northwest Athletic Conference loss was a small luxury for WWU. Plain and simple, coach Diane Flick's Vikings weren't about to lose to their biggest in-state rival at Carver Gym.
"I'm sure the loss adds fuel to the fire, but it's a Central-Western rivalry," Flick said. "If it was a game of tiddlywinks or chess, I think we'd both want to beat each other."
The Wildcats marred WWU's league record, handing Western its only conference loss three weeks ago in a four-set match in Ellensburg.
Flick said her club came out sluggish and tentative.With the GNAC lead up for grabs, there was nothing timid about the Vikings this time around.Since the loss, WWU has won five straight and made it six in a row, as No.15-ranked WWU made quick work of No.21 Central in a 25-19, 25-20, 25-18 sweep Thursday night, Oct. 18.
"It felt really good," outside hitter Kelsey Moore said of the rivalry win. "I think we look forward way more to this match than any other match. The last time (against Central), it was really frustrating. We wanted to come out strong and come out swinging."
The Vikings swung and swung and swung some more.Hitter Marlayna Geary led Western with 13 kills, and the 6-foot-1 Moore swung high and swung often, compiling 11 kills in the win.
Flick preached aggression leading up to Thursday's matchup. The Vikings (16-2, 9-1 GNAC) responded, and Moore acted as the catalyst.
"She really set the tone for us tonight," Flick said of Moore. "She starting hitting high and into spots we knew we had to hit, and she stayed aggressive. She does a really good job of having short-term memory. If anything goes wrong, she goes into the next play. I've been really happy with Kelsey. She's really been coming on as of late."
Flick said she's been using a "win the next play" mantra with her club. Western didn't encounter too much adversity against Central with the exception of a 17-15 deficit in the second set. Four kills by Geary and kills by Kayla Erickson, Emily Boerger and Jennica McPherson helped WWU enjoy a 10-3 run to close the second set with a 25-20 win.
"I think that is something I've seen them do in many situations," Flick said of WWU's ability to play well under pressure. "We did that against (Alaska) Anchorage, and we did that against Sonoma. I think it's good to know that when we get in tight situations, we actually feel more comfortable than we do when we have a big lead."
Boerger said it was WWU's persistence that helped them win the pivotal second set.
"The first time playing them, we weren't aggressive enough," Boerger said. "Even if we hit it out, we just need to keep on hitting."
Western never trailed in the first set. Central tied it at 10-10 and again at 13-13, but five kills each by Geary and Moore helped Western pull out a win.
Erickson recorded one of her game-high six blocks to close the first set.The Vikings built on their early momentum in the third, as a McPherson kill and three consecutive blocks by Erickson, Boerger and McPherson helped the Vikings build a 5-0 lead, which prompted a CWU timeout.
WWU held a 9-2 advantage, but Central scored four straight points. Three points was the closest Central got the rest of the set. Moore rose from the left side of the court and buried a cross-kill to seal the victory.
Geary dropped to her knees in excitement, and WWU embraced at mid court.
"Boerger got a ton of blocks, especially in that third game," Moore said. "That didn't even let them get an attempt. We played great defense all around. I think everyone had a really good game."
Boerger said she was happy to get another shot at Central, because she thought Western had improved tremendously since the two rivals last played.
"I think our practices are so competitive," Boerger said, referring to how WWU has been able to win six straight matches. "It makes it like a game situation, and everybody gets better."
Laurie Yearout accounted for 41 of Western's 43 assists. Samantha Hutchinson compiled a team-high 23 digs and Geary had 11. The Wildcats were led by Marcy Hjellum's and Emmy Dolan's combined 25 kills. Kaely Kight had a game-high 24 digs for Central.The Vikings face Northwest Nazarene University next at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Carver Gym.
Volleyball 2017 Season in Review
Vikings finished the season ranked No. 7 in the nation going 27-4 and winning GNAC Championship
Abby Phelps Named First Team AVCA All-American
Phelps earns First Team honor, while Brette Boesel and Joellee Buckner named Honorable Mention
Vikings Fall in West Regional Final to Cal State San Bernardino
WWU has 20-match winning streak snapped in 3-0 loss to finish season 27-4
Championship Saturday! Vikings to Play for West Regional Title
WWU Volleyball takes 20-match winning streak into regional final vs. Cal State San Bernardino
Vikings Advance to West Regional Final With 3-1 Win over NNU
Vikings will play in NCAA II West Regional Championship match for the third consecutive season facing Cal State San Bernardino at 7 pm...
Vikings Take On NNU In NCAA West Regional Semifinal
WWU is coming off 3-1 victory over Alaska Anchorage
Volleyball Advances in NCAA Tourney With 3-1 Win Over UAA
Junior outside hitter Abby Phelps records a career-high 28 kills with a .347 hitting percentage to lead WWU
Three Vikings Named AVCA All-West Region
Brette Boesel and Abby Phelps named First Team All-West Region. Joellee Buckner named honorable mention
Boesel and Phelps Named D2CCA First Team All-Region
The Vikings lead the region with two first-team selections in Boesel and Phelps
Volleyball Heads to Sixth Consecutive NCAA Championships
Vikings are ranked No. 5 in the nation and take 18-match winning streak into postseason
Vikings Dominate All-GNAC Volleyball Team
Abby Phelps named GNAC Player of the Year to lead five WWU selections to All-GNAC team
Vikings Announced as No. 2 Seed in NCAA II Championships West Regional
WWU will take 18-match winning streak up against GNAC rival Alaska Anchorage in the first round on Nov. 30
Phelps and Hall Sweep GNAC Volleyball Awards
Abby Phelps named GNAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week and Michaela Hall earns defensive award
Winning Streak Reaches 18 Straight for the Vikings
WWU ends regular season with 3-0 sweep over Central Washington on Senior Night
Vikings Clinch GNAC Championship with Sweep over NNU
Vikings clinch eighth GNAC title with 25-22, 25-21, 25-19 victory over No. 13 Northwest Nazarene