GNAC-leading Vikings travel to Alaska to face Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Anchorage
Oct. 2, 2012
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Making its longest road trip of the season, the nationally ranked and league-leading Western Washington University volleyball team travels to Alaska this week to play Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday, Oct. 4 and Alaska Anchorage on Saturday, Oct. 6 in a pair of Great Northwest Athletic Conference matches. Both have 7 p.m. AT starting times.
The Vikings, who climbed one spot to No.16 in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association Coaches' Top 25 Poll, are 12-2 overall and tied for first in the GNAC standings at 5-1 with Central Washington, rated No.25. They have split on the junket in each of the last four years, losing at UAF in 2008 and UAA in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Sophomore middle blocker Kayla Erickson (Gig Harbor/Peninsula) earned Red Lion/GNAC Offensive Player of the Week honors with 24 kills, a hitting percentage of .388, and five blocks in the victories over SMU and WOU.
Erickson is second among GNAC leaders in attack percentage (.387) and fifth in both kills (3.44 average per set) and blocks (0.98).
The Vikings, coached by Diane Flick (13th year, 261-72), have three players, one in two categories, ranked among the top 10 nationally among NCAA Division II statistical leaders.
Senior outside hitter Marlayna Geary (Tacoma/Bellarmine) ranks seventh nationally in both points (5.08) and kills (4.46, 223) per set. She leads the GNAC in both categories.
Geary currently is fifth among WWU career leaders in kills with 1,181 (needs three to move into fourth, 17 to move into third and 47 to move into second). The school record of 1,379 is held by Meghan Evoy (2001-04).
Geary also is third in the conference in service aces (0.38) and sixth in hitting percentage (.314)
Senior setter Laurie Yearout (Spokane/Lewis & Clark) is fourth nationally and the GNAC leader in assists (12.46, 623). She ranks fourth among WWU career leaders with 2,610 (needs 625 to tie for third with Kris Little, 1991-93).
Sophomore libero Samantha Hutchinson (University Place/Curtis) ranks sixth nationally and leads the league in digs, averaging 5.98 per set (299).
WWU leads the GNAC in four team statistical categories, including hitting percentage (.281), assists (13.78), kills (14.30) and digs (16.46). The Vikings rank fifth nationally in hitting percentage, sixth in assists and ninth in kills. Hitting .281, while holding opponents to .198, they also have big advantages in blocks (95.5 to 67.0) and service aces (75 to 38).
Alaska Fairbanks is 2-9 overall and 0-5 in conference play, losing nine straight after opening with two wins. The Nanooks trail 32-6 in the series with WWU, losing the last seven meetings.
Alaska Anchorage, which ranks second in kills (13.10) in the GNAC, is 9-4 overall (Oct. 4 hosts Simon Fraser) and 4-1 in league play. The Seawolves, who are unbeaten in seven home matches, have won eight of their last nine, the only loss a sweep at Western Oregon on Sept. 20, following a 1-3 start.
The Vikings hold a 25-12 series advantage over UAA. The Seawolves have won the last three meetings in Anchorage and five of the last seven encounters overall after WWU won 17 straight from 2001-08.
NOTES: The Vikings were the preseason favorite in the GNAC Coaches' Poll ... WWU has won 22 of its last 23 matches at Carver Gym (4-0 this season) since late in 2009, including their last nine. The Vikings have a winning percentage of .901 percent (109-12) at home since going to a SportCourt surface in 2000 and is 224-78 overall (74.2 percent) overall at Carver Gym ... Geary has twice been named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week this season, and Hutchinson is a two-time Defensive POW ... Geary has posted nine double-doubles this season in kills and digs ... WWU opened the season by being the only team to go undefeated at the Western Oregon Invitational, winning all four of its matches. The following week, the Vikings tied for the title at the Sonoma State Seawolf Spike Invitational, winning three of four matches. That performance earned them GNAC Team of the Week honors ... Geary was the MVP in both tournaments. Yearout earned all-tourney honors in both, and Hutchinson was all-tourney in the WOU Invitational.
Great Northwest Athletic Conference
2012 Volleyball Week #5 (Oct. 2, 2012)
LAST WEEK: Thursday - Central Washington 3 at Seattle Pacific 2 (25-23, 20-25, 20-25, 25-21, 15-13); Northwest Nazarene 2 at MSU Billings 3 (18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 18-25, 15-12); Saint Martin's 0 at Western Washington 3 (25-11, 25-14, 25-18); Western Oregon 3 at Simon Fraser 1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-13, 25-19). Saturday - Alaska Fairbanks 2 at Alaska Anchorage 3 (22-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-20, 15-10); Central Washington 3 at MSU Billings 0 (26-24, 31-29, 30-28); Northwest Nazarene 2 at Seattle Pacific 3 (25-22, 20-25, 25-27, 25-20, 15-11); Saint Martin's 3 at Simon Fraser 2 (22-25, 23-25, 29-27, 25-17, 15-11); Western Oregon 0 at Western Washington 3 (25-21, 25-23, 25-23).
THIS WEEK: Monday - Douglas at Simon Fraser, postponed. Tuesday - Walla Walla at Central Washington. Wednesday - Walla Walla at Northwest Nazarene, 6 p.m. Thursday - Simon Fraser at Alaska Anchorage; Western Washington at Alaska Fairbanks; MSU Billings at Saint Martin's; Seattle Pacific at Western Oregon. Saturday - Western Washington at Alaska Anchorage; Simon Fraser at Alaska Fairbanks; Central Washington at Northwest Nazarene; MSU Billings at Western Oregon; Seattle Pacific at Saint Martin's.
NEXT WEEK (Oct. 8-14): Tuesday - Northwest Nazarene at Eastern Oregon. Wednesday - Capilano at Simon Fraser. Thursday - Alaska Anchorage at Seattle Pacific; Alaska Fairbanks at MSU Billings; Western Oregon at Central Washington; Saint Martin's at Northwest Nazarene. Saturday - Alaska Anchorage at MSU Billings; Alaska Fairbanks at Seattle Pacific, 3 p.m.; Saint Martin's at Central Washington; Western Oregon at Northwest Nazarene; Western Washington at Simon Fraser.
POLLS: AVCA (Oct. 1) - 16. Western Washington; 25. Central Washington; 36. Western Oregon.
NCAA NATIONAL STATISTICS (Through Sept. 30): Team (Top 30): Assists - 6. Western Washington 13.78. Blocks - 18. Western Washington 2.45; 20. Western Oregon 2.39. Hitting PCT. - 5. Western Washington .281. Kills - 9. Western Washington 14.30. Individuals (Top 30): Assists - 4. Laurie Yearout, WWU, 12.46; 13. Kimya Jafroudi, UAA, 11.10. Blocks - 20. Becky Blees, WOU, 1.30. Digs - 6. Samantha Hutchinson, WWU, 5.98; 8. Erin Compton, MSUB, 5.71; 30. Kaely Kight, CWU, 5.04. Hitting PCT. - 5. Krissi Kemper, WOU, .422; 17. Kayla Erickson, WWU, .387. Kills - 7. Marlayna Geary, WWU, 4.46; 26. Cailin Fellows, SPU, 3.78. Points - 7. Marlayna Geary, WWU, 5.08; 24. Danielle Reese, WOU, 4.37.
ALL-TOURNAMENT: Western Oregon (Aug. 30-Sept. 1) - Marlayna Geary, WWU (MVP); Laurie Yearout, WWU; Krissi Kemper, WOU. Grand Canyon (Aug. 31-Sept. 1) - Erin Smith, CWU. Alaska Fairbanks (Aug. 31-Sept. 1) - Katlyn Mataya, UAF; Sam Harthun, UAF. Honolulu Invitational (Aug. 30-Sept. 1) - Cailin Fellows, SPU; Monica Grimsrud, MSUB. Sonoma State (Sept. 7-8) - Marlayna Geary, WWU (MVP); Samantha Hutchinson, WWU; Laurie Yearout, WWU. Alaska Anchorage (Sept. 7-8) - Kimya Jafroudi, UAA (MVP); Katelynn Zanders, UAA, Julia Mackey, UAA; Sarah Johnson, UAA. CSU Pueblo (Sept. 7-8) - Monica Grimsrud, MSUB; Erin Compton, MSUB. Notre Dame de Namur/CSU East Bay (Sept. 7-8) - Becky Flores, NNU.
GNAC RED LION PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offense - Kayla Erickson, Western Washington (MB, 6-0, So., Gig Harbor, WA) had 24 kills in two matches, including the match-winner as the Vikings handed Western Oregon its first conference loss. Erickson, who hit for a .388 percentage, also had five blocks in earning Red Lion Offensive Player of the Week honors. She had 11 kills and a team-high three blocks against the Wolves. Defense - Marcy Hjellum, Central Washington (OH, 5-11, Sr., Kennewick, WA - Kamiakin) led Central Washington offensively with 39 kills and defensively with 36 digs as the Wildcats ran their win streak to five with road victories at Seattle Pacific and Montana State Billings. Hjellum, the Red Lion Defensive Player of the Week, also hit for a team high .270 percentage, 94 points better than CWU's team percentage of .176 in the two matches. Honorable Mention - Kyndal Williams, Montana State Billings; Samantha Hutchinson, Western Washington; Sam Harthun, Alaska Fairbanks; Allison Oddy, Alaska Fairbanks; Krissi Kemper, Western Oregon; Cailin Fellows, Seattle Pacific.
FROM THE RECORD BOOK: Western Washington outside hitter Marlayna Geary had a team-high 29 kills as the Vikings swept both Saint Martin's and Western Oregon increasing her career total to 1,181 and moving into a tie for 15th place on the GNAC all-time career list with Kady Try of Central Washington (2007-10). Geary leads the GNAC this fall in kills averaging 4.46. She led the conference last season with a 4.61 average ... Becky Blees of Western Oregon leads the GNAC in blocking averaging 1.30 per set. Among her 56 blocks are 52 blocking assists and she currently ranks No. 1 all-time in the GNAC in career assisted blocks per set (204 in 200 sets for a 1.02 average). Her total number ranks 44th. She had 10 blocks in last week's two matches.
PROVIDING AS ASSIST: Setter Kimya Jafroudi had 59 assists (11.80 per set) leading Alaska Anchorage to a come-from-behind home win against Alaska Fairbanks. The Nanooks won the first two sets before UAA rallied to win the fifth set 15-10 and stay unbeaten in seven home matches ... Also averaging double figure assists were Shelby Swanson of Seattle Pacific (117, 11.70). Montana State freshman Kyndal Williams (85, 10.62) and Katie Fry of Central Washington (84, 10.50).
SQUEEKING BY: Five of Central Washington's set wins were by the minimum two-point margin including all three in Saturday's road victory at Montana State Billings (26-24, 31-29, 30-28). CWU also beat Seattle Pacific Thursday by two points in the first (25-23) and fifth sets (15-13). CWU's Erin Smith had 20 kills and a team-high 11 blocks in those two victories. . .Two teams - Alaska Anchorage versus Alaska Anchorage and Saint Martin's versus Simon Fraser - rallied from 2-0 deficits to earn victories Saturday.
AROUND THE GNAC: Cailin Fellow had a team-high 41 kills and 35 digs as Seattle Pacific split two home matches. The Falcons also got 32 kills and a team-high 13 blocks from Nikki Lowell ... Danielle Reese had 37 kills including 20 of Western Oregon's 41 kills in their road loss at Western Washington ... Kristyn Ross had 27 kills to help Saint Martin's earn a road split ... Northwest Nazarene's Becky Flores had a team-high 31 kills and eight blocks in a pair of 3-2 road losses ... Jessica Young had 23 kills in Simon Fraser's two losses ... Western Washington libero Samantha Hutchinson's 6.50 dig average (39 total) was the highest of any player during the week ... Sam Harthun had a career-high 24 kills and Allison Oddy had a career-high 32 digs in Alaska Fairbanks' 3-2 loss at Alaska Anchorage.
GNAC 42-34 IN NON-CONFERENCE: GNAC teams have posted a winning record during the non-conference portion of its schedule posting a 43-33 record. The GNAC had a winning record (13-12) against the CCAA, but ended up just 9-15 against the Pac West. Just eight matches remain on the non-conference slate including four with Walla Walla. Central Washington plays Walla Walla on Oct. 2 at home and Oct. 30 on the road. Northwest Nazarene hosts Walla Walla on Oct. 4 and plays at Eastern Oregon on Oct. 9 and at Walla Walla on Nov. 2. Saint Martin's visits Pacific Lutheran Oct. 23. Simon Fraser hosts Douglas on Oct. 1 and Capilano Oct. 10.
UNBEATEN: Western Washington finished its non-conference slate with a 7-1 record. Only four times have GNAC teams finished unbeaten in non-conference regular-season matches - Seattle Pacific in 2003 (7-0) and 2010 (10-0), Central Washington in 2004 (8-0) and Western Washington in 2008 (8-0). . .The 2010 Falcons lost in the West Regional championship game, while the 2004 Wildcats lost in their opening-round playoff game. The 2003 Falcons and 2008 Vikings did not advance to the post-season.
GNAC (13) vs. CCAA (12): Northwest Nazarene 4-0, Western Oregon 1-0, Western Washington 4-1, Central Washington 3-2, Seattle Pacific 1-5, MSU Billings 0-1, Alaska Fairbanks 0-1, Alaska Anchorage 0-2.
GNAC (9) vs. PacWest (15): Alaska Anchorage 2-0, Western Oregon 2-1, Seattle Pacific 2-1, Northwest Nazarene 2-3, Alaska Fairbanks 1-3, Central Washington 0-1, MSU Billings 0-3, Saint Martin's 0-3.
PREVIOUS RED LION PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Week of Aug. 27-Sept. 2: Offense - Marlayna Geary, Western Washington (OH, 5-10, Sr., Tacoma, WA - Bellarmine Prep) had 59 kills and hit for a .356 percentage in leading the Vikings to four victories in the Western Oregon Invitational. Geary became the 29th player in GNAC history to record 1,000 career kills, increasing her career total to 1,017. She also had 50 digs, five service aces and three blocks and was named the Most Valuable Player. Defense - Erin Smith, Central Washington (MB, 5-10, Jr., Selah, WA) had a team-high 13 blocks and also contributed 51 kills as the Wildcats won three of four matches. Smith committed just six errors in 90 swings.
Week of Sept. 3-9: Offense - Marlayna Geary, Western Washington (OH, 5-10, Sr., Tacoma, WA - Bellarmine Prep) had a tourney-best 76 kills and a .314 attack percentage and also had 40 digs and a trio of double-doubles in leading the Vikings to a 3-1 record and a share of the tournament title in the Sonoma State Invitational at Rohnert Park. She also had nine blocks in earning MVP honors for the second week in a row. WWU tied for the tournament title. After losing to No. 25 UC San Diego, the Vikings handed Chico State its first loss of the season and then beat No. 23 Sonoma State. Defense - Samantha Hutchinson, Western Washington (L, 5-8, So., University Place, WA - Curtis) had 99 digs, an average of 6.19 per set to earn all-tournament honors as the Vikings outhit their four CCAA opponents by 40 points (.286 to .246).
Week of Sept. 10-16: Offense - Sarah Johnson, Alaska Anchorage (OH, 6-1, Fr., Anchorage, AK - South) had 34 kills and hit for a .308 percentage to earn Red Lion Offensive Player of the Week honors as the Seawolves ran their win streak to six with 3-2 home wins over Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene. She had double-doubles in both victories, including career-highs of 18 kills and 17 digs in Saturday's win over NNU. She leads UAA with four double-doubles on the season. Defense - Samantha Hutchinson, Western Washington (L, 5-8, So., University Place, WA - Curtis) had 35 digs as the Vikings held their opponents to a .098 hitting percentage in sweeps of Montana State Billings and Seattle Pacific. Hutchinson, who was selected the Red Lion Defensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row, also had three aces as WWU had a 28-11 point advantage from the service line, including a 18-2 edge in aces.
Week of Sept. 17-23: Offense - Emmy Dolan, Central Washington (OH, 5-11, Jr., Castle Rock, WA) had 23 kills and hit for a .450 percentage leading the Wildcats to wins over Simon Fraser and Western Washington. Dolan had 16 kills and hit for a .481 percentage as the Wildcats stopped archrival Western Washington in four sets for the second time in a row at Nicholson Pavilion. CWU also beat the Vikings at home in four sets during the final week of the 2011 season. Defense - Becky Blees, Western Oregon (MB, 5-10, Jr., Portland, OR - Madison) contributed to nine of the Wolves' 15 blocks as WOU earned sweeps of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Fairbanks in limiting their opponents to a .080 attack percentage. Blees also had a .412 hitting percentage (8-1-17) in the two wins.
GNAC TEAMS OF THE WEEK: Aug. 27-Sept. 2 - Montana State Billings (Women's Soccer). Sept. 3-9 - Western Washington (Volleyball). Sept. 10-16 - Northwest Nazarene (Men's Soccer). Sept. 17-23 - Central Washington (Volleyball). Sept. 24-30 - Central Washington (Football).
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