2006 WWU Volleyball Review
Jan. 17, 2007
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - They didn't have a senior on the roster, but the Western Washington University volleyball team played the 2006 season like experienced veterans.
The Vikings were 18-7 overall, and reached the first round of the NCAA Division II Pacific Regional, their first national tournament appearance in three years. Western was second in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference at 14-2.
After a 2-4 start, the Vikings went 16-3 the rest of the season.
"We had a great year," said Western coach Diane Flick (7 years), who was named GNAC Coach of the Year for the fourth time in the last six seasons and is Western's winningest coach in school history in both career victories and winning percentage (.780). "It took a few matches for everyone to adapt to their roles, but once they did, we played very well. You always want to go further, but for a team with no seniors, we accomplished quite a bit."
Leading the way for the Vikings was junior libero Courtney Schneider (Snohomish), who led NCAA Division II nationally in digs per game (7.66) and earned first-team All-America honors from Daktronics, and third-team All-America honors from AVCA.
It's a well-deserved honor for someone who has worked so hard to become a master of her position," said Flick. "I'm really proud of her accomplishments this year, and I think that even better things are to come. She typifies what it means to be a student-athlete both on the court and in the classroom, she excels in both."
Schneider also was a unanimous all-GNAC pick and a second-team ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA College Division District 8 all-academic team selection as well as a first-team Daktronics and AVCA Pacific Region all-star. She is already Western's career leader in digs with 1,844, notching a GNAC and school-record 666 this season, and has her sights set next season on the GNAC career mark.
Western's attack was very balanced, with all five primary hitters averaging better than two kills a game. Two of those players earned second-team all-GNAC honors - junior outside hitter Jaime Anderson (SeaTac/Mount Rainier) and sophomore middle blocker Tiana Roma (Edmonds/Edmonds-Woodway).
Anderson averaged a team-high 3.72 kills a game, ranking fifth in the GNAC, and was second on the team in digs (3.18).
"This was a breakout year for Jaime," said Flick. "She became much more consistent and really had an outstanding season."
Roma averaged 2.93 kills and 0.94 blocks a game, being second on the team in both categories, and had a team-best attack percentage of .294, which ranked second in the GNAC. She was a first-team ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA College Division District 8 all-academic team selection
"Tiana had another excellent season," Flick said. "Earning a spot on the district all-academic team is deserving recognition for the complete student-athlete that she is."
Another second-team pick was junior setter Katie Robinson (Everson/Nooksack Valley). Robinson was third in the GNAC in assists at 11.56 a game, and also contributed 2.06 digs.
Castro, who was also named GNAC Newcomer of the Year, averaged 2.81 kills. Alvord contributed 2.54 kills a game, led the GNAC and ranked No.18 natioanlly in blocks (117, 1.34 avg.), and led Western in service aces (39), being fifth in the GNAC (0.45).
The other major cog in Western's attack was sophomore right-side hitter Marissa Hill (North Bend/Mount Si), who averaged 2.07 kills and 0.82 blocks a game.
Freshman Shasta Bennett (Brush Prairie/Prairie) saw action in all 25 matches, mostly as a defensive specialist, averaging 2.09 digs a game and contributing 22 service aces.
Completing the roster were freshman setter Kari Rice (Toppenish/Eisenhower), sophomore outside hitter Shanley Besett (University Place/Curtis) and freshman defensive specialist Andrea Watanabe (Kent/Kentwood).
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