GNAC-leading Vikings begin three-match home stand
Sept. 18, 2011
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Atop the conference standings and riding a four-match winning streak, the Western Washington University volleyball team begins a three-match home stand this week, entertaining Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday (7 p.m.) and Alaska Anchorage on Saturday (7 p.m.) in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.
The Vikings, 6-2 overall and ranked No.25 in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll, are 4-0 in league play following a pair of road victories last week. They swept Saint Martin's and overcame a two-set deficit to edge Western Oregon, 3-2. WOU entered the match unbeaten in three conference matches.
WWU is working on a 12-match home court victory string that began at the end of the 2009 season. Two weeks ago, the Vikings debuted at Carver Gym with sweeps over Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington.
UAF is winless in 11 matches this fall and 0-3 in GNAC play. UAA, which plays at Simon Fraser on Thursday, is 6-5 overall and 2-1 in league action.
Junior outside hitter Marlayna Geary (Tacoma/Bellarmine) had double-doubles in both matches last week. Against Western Oregon, she had a match-high 24 kills and a career-best 30 digs.
Geary, who has been WWU's kill leader in seven of its eight matches this season, leads the GNAC and ranks 11th nationally in NCAA Division II in kills per set at 4.32 (121). She also tops the conference and is 18th nationally in points at 4.77 and is averaging 3.86 digs (108) with an attack percentage of .256.
In all, WWU has five GNAC statistical category leaders. Besides Geary, they are senior middle blocker Emily Jepsen (Kennewick/Kamiakin) in blocks (1.11), redshirt freshman libero Samantha Hutchinson (University Place/Curtis) in digs (5.75, 161, No.10 nationally) and senior defensive specialist Haleigh Adkins (Puyallup/Rogers) in service aces (0.54, 15 with only five errors). Junior setter Laurie Yearout (Spokane/Lewis & Clark) is second in assists (10.61, 297).
Jepsen also is averaging 3.07 kills and ranks fourth among GNAC leaders in kill percentage at .308. She was picked to the all-tournament team at the Cal State San Bernardino Coyote Labor Day Classic as WWU split four matches.
WWU tops the GNAC in aces at 1.75 (49 total).
The Vikings hold a 30-6 series advantage over UAF, winning the last five meetings. WWU has a 25-10 series lead over UAA.
UAA is paced by Robyn Burton, who leads the GNAC with a .387 attack percentage on 123 kills. Jackie Mathisen is third in points (4.21) and fourth in kills (3.75), and Miranda Doing is eighth in both kill percentage (.258) and blocks (0.88).
WWU coach Diane Flick is in her 12th season (239-66) and her .784 winning percentage ranks ninth among active NCAA II coaches. She has been named GNAC Coach of the Year six times with the Vikings winning no less than 17 matches during her first 11 years and 20 or more seven times.
WWU has won 72.9 percent of its matches (214-77) in 38 years at Carver Gym and the Vikings are 99-11 (90 percent) on their home floor since Flick became coach and they went to a SportCourt surface in 2000.
WWU finished 20-4 in 2010, reaching the regional semifinals, and shared the GNAC crown at 16-2 with Seattle Pacific.
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