Dec. 5, 2013
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -
Held to a season-low attack percentage of .065, the No.5 seed Western Washington University volleyball team lost to No.4 seed Sonoma State University, 25-19, 25-18, 25-16, in opening-round action Thursday at the NCAA Division II West Regional being held on the campus of host Cal State San Bernardino.
The Vikings, ranked No.10 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, had a season-best nine-match victory streak snapped in finishing their season 23-4. They earned an automatic berth at regionals by winning the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title with a 16-2 record.
Sonoma State, rated No.15 nationally, hit .238 in improving to 26-5. The Seawolves had three players with double-figure kills. Caylie Seitz had a match-high 13 kills, Madelyn Densberger 11 and Regan Richert 10. Densberger also had 12 digs and Rachel Andrews tied for match-high honors with six block assists.
The Seawolves meets the winner of the No.8 seed Central Washington versus No.1 seed CSUSB match in semifinal action Friday at 7:30 p.m.
"It was a bad time to play our worst match of the year," said head coach Diane Flick (296-78), whose teams have made eight post-season appearances during her 14-year tenure. "Sonoma State is a very scrappy team and they have a lot of weapons. You have to be very on point against a team like that and tonight we were not. That was not indicative of how we can play and the season we had."
The Vikings, who entered the match ranked seventh nationally in hitting at .274, were held to .114 in the first set, minus-0.26 in the second and .098 in the third.
WWU libero Samantha Hutchinson (Jr., University Place/Curtis), who entered the match ranked No.2 nationally in digs per set (6.9), tied for match-high honors with 21 digs.
Middle blocker Emily Boerger (Sr., Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck)had six block assists and seven kills in her final match for WWU.
Kayla Erickson (Jr., Gig Harbor/Peninsula) led the Vikings with eight kills. Kelsey Moore (Jr., Bellevue/Newport) had seven kills and five blocks and Emily Cotter (Jr., University Place/Curtis) contributed 15 digs.
In the first set, Sonoma State scored five of six points to take a 13-8 lead and WWU could get no closer than five after that. The Seawolves had runs of 11-2 and 10-4, respectively, in breaking open the second and third sets.
WWU, which suffered its first sweep of the season, lost in four games to the Seawolves on Sept. 14 at the Sonoma State Invitational.