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.
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WWU has 20-match winning streak snapped in 3-0 loss to finish season 27-4
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Three Vikings Named AVCA All-West Region
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Boesel and Phelps Named D2CCA First Team All-Region
The Vikings lead the region with two first-team selections in Boesel and Phelps
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Vikings are ranked No. 5 in the nation and take 18-match winning streak into postseason
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Abby Phelps named GNAC Player of the Year to lead five WWU selections to All-GNAC team
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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