GIG HARBOR, Wash. -
By JON MANLEY, Staff writer, Peninsula Gateway
Peninsula High School 2010 graduate Kayla Erickson continues to rack up honors during her Western Washington University volleyball career.
The 6-foot-1 senior middle blocker was named the 2013 Great Northwest Athletic Conference player of the year and a second team All-American.
"It's actually an honor to be named all of those things," Erickson said. "It kind of surprises me. I feel thankful; I work hard in practice. My hard work is paying off, it's cool to see. I'm playing a sport that I love."
Erickson averaged 3.65 kills and 1.18 blocks last season, notching a .380 attack percentage. She enters this season with a career attack percentage of .360, the best in school history.
Western enters the season ranked No. 12 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Top 25 Preseason Poll. Erickson hopes her senior leadership will translate into a successful season for the team.
"We're taking it game by game," Erickson said. "We'd like to win nationals -- that's our overall goal -- but we're just focusing on preseason and getting better in practice, which will prepare us for the postseason."
Erickson credits Peninsula High School volleyball coach Ann Lovrovich with her development.
"I love my hometown," Erickson said. "It's cool ... I'm one of the only volleyball players to go on to play in college from Peninsula. It's an honor. I was really close with (Lovrovich), she taught me everything I know."
Erickson said she still stays in touch occasionally, although her family no longer lives in the Gig Harbor area. Still, the community has been supportive of her, she said.
"(Lovrovich) is really proud of me," Erickson said. "I don't get a chance to go back to Gig Harbor often but the people I do hear from, they're encouraging. They're very supportive."
WWU opens its season Sept. 4-6 at the Central Washington Wildcat Invitational, meeting three Top 25 teams in Sonoma State, UC San Diego and Cal State San Bernardino. The Vikings' home opener is Sept. 9 versus Hawaii Pacific at Squalicum High School.
Joellee Buckner Named GNAC Defensive Player of the Week
Buckner averaged 6.17 digs and 1.50 blocks per set in WWU’s 2-0 week on the road
8th-Ranked Vikings Earn Road Sweep at MSUB
Vikings win 10th consecutive match behind 18 kills from Abby Phelps
No. 8 Vikings Dominate Road Match at Simon Fraser
Vikings out-block SFU 16-1 in dominating 25-9, 25-19, 25-16 road victory
No. 8 Vikings Return to Road in GNAC Action
WWU takes 15-3 record into road contests at Simon Fraser and Montana State Billings
No. 11 Vikings Continue Winning Ways with Sweep of SPU
Vikings win eighth consecutive match to finish first half of GNAC play with 9-1 record to tie for 1st place
Volleyball Sweeps Saint Martin's to Extend Winning Streak
WWU wins seventh straight to improve to 14-3 overall and move into tie for 1st place in GNAC with 8-1 league mark
No. 11 Volleyball Returns Home To Host SMU and SPU
Vikings take six-match winning streak into pair of GNAC matches at Carver Gym
Joellee Buckner Named GNAC Player of the Week
Buckner recorded pair of double-doubles in sweep of Alaskan school
No. 11 Vikings Beat Rival Alaska Anchorage in Four Sets
Vikings match program record with 21 total blocks while recording sixth consecutive victory
No. 11 Volleyball Sweeps Alaska to Win Fifth Straight
Joellee Buckner records eighth double-double of the season with 13 kills and 20 digs
No. 11 Volleyball Travels North For Alaskan Road Trip
Vikings have won four straight matches and are 11-3 overall, 5-1 in GNAC play
No. 10 Vikings Sweep Western Oregon
Abby Phelps leads Vikings with 12th double-double of the season
No. 10 Volleyball Sweeps Concordia in GNAC Play
Joellee Buckner and Abby Phelps lead balanced attack with double-doubles
10th-Ranked Volleyball Hosts Concordia and Western Oregon
Vikings are 9-3 on the season and 3-1 in GNAC play
No. 13 Volleyball Sweeps Montana State Billings
Abby Phelps, Michaela Hall and Joellee Buckner all record 11 kills in the victory