Aug. 19, 2014
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
In an effort to aid in the recovery from a devastating forest fire that impacted residents of North Central Washington this summer, the Western Washington University women's volleyball team will play a preseason intrasquad scrimmage at Chelan High School on Saturday at 7 p.m., with proceeds going to local charities.
The Vikings will spend three days and two nights in the area, practicing each day in Chelan and doing community service projects both Friday and Saturday. That may be assisting in the cleanup of homes impacted by the fire or helping in sorting donations.
"Whatever we can do to assist the area is what we are prepared to do," said WWU coach Diane Flick (15th year, 296-78).
WWU has four players on its roster from the region impacted by the fires - redshirt freshman Kristina Tribley from Wenatchee, redshirt freshman Arielle Turner from Leavenworth, true freshman Brette Boesel from Brewster, and true freshman Abby Phelps from Manson (Chelan HS).
"I told all of (our student-athletes) that once they decided to commit to WWU, their community became part of our community and so we feel compelled to help in any way that we can," Flick said. "We are able bodied people who can not only give, but also can receive a pure dose of perspective that puts what we do on the court in its proper place."
The Vikings, ranked No.12 nationally in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Preseason Top 25 Poll, graduated just one starter from last year's 23-4 team that won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship for the second straight year and reached the first round of the NCAA DII West Regional.
Two All-Americans back are senior libero Samantha Hutchinson (University Place/Curtis) and senior middle blocker Kayla Erickson (Gig Harbor/Peninsula).
Hutchinson was a first-team AVCA All-American last year and is a two-time GNAC Defensive Player of the Year. Her 6.91 digs per set last season were second in NCAA Division II, and her 1,671 career digs are third in school history.
Erickson, the 2013 GNAC Player of the Year, was a second-team Daktronics All-American and earned AVCA honorable mention. She averaged 3.65 kills and 1.18 blocks, notching a .380 attack percentage. Erickson enters the season with a career attack percentage of .360, the best in school history.