Vikings in final home stand, host No.24 Seattle Pacific and Montana State Billings
Oct. 31, 2011
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Tied for second in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings, the Western Washington University volleyball team makes its final home stand of the season this week, meeting conference leading and nationally No.24-ranked Seattle Pacific on Thursday (7 p.m.) and Montana State University Billings on Saturday (7 p.m.) in league counters at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.
Saturday's match will be the final home appearance for three Viking seniors - opposite-side hitter Breanne Graham (Vancouver/Hockinson), middle blocker Emily Jepsen (Kennewick/Kamiakin) and defensive specialist Haleigh Adkins (Puyallup/Rogers). It will also be Winter Warm-Up Night to help Blue Skies for Children, a non-profit organization, provide clothing for homeless, low income and foster children in Whatcom and Skagit counties.
The Vikings, 13-5 overall, are in a second-place GNAC deadlock at 11-3 with Alaska Anchorage. Seattle Pacific, 19-5 overall, leads the league with a 13-2 mark. Last year, WWU and Seattle Pacific tied for the GNAC championship.
Seattle Pacific, riding a six-match winning streak, is coming off a four-set victory over Alaska Anchorage on Saturday. The Falcons have won 14 of their last 16 matches. WWU lost in five sets at Seattle Pacific on Oct. 8.
MSUB is 10-14 overall and 4-11 in conference play. The Yellowjackets, who were swept by the Vikings at Billings on Oct. 6, have lost nine of their last 11 matches following an 8-5 start.
WWU is 6-1 at home this season, the lone setback being to Alaska Anchorage on Sept. 24. The Vikings have lost just 12 times in 115 matches, a winning percentage of .906, at Carver Gym since Diane Flick became head coach in 2000 and WWU went to a SportCourt surface.
WWU had only one match last week, winning in three sets at Simon Fraser as junior outside hitter Marlayna Geary (Tacoma/Bellarmine) posted her 10th double-double of the season in kills and digs.
Geary ranks 17th among NCAA Division II national leaders in average kills per set at 4.22 (270) and 23rd in points at 4.63 (296.5). She leads the GNAC in points, is second in kills and 11th in hitting percentage (.236).
Jepsen ranks among the top 10 GNAC leaders in three categories, being third in attack percentage at .300, fourth in blocks at 1.06 (68) and ninth in points at 3.84 (246.0). She also is 11th in kills at 3.06 (196).
Redshirt freshman libero Samantha Hutchinson (University Place/Curtis) is second in the GNAC in digs at 5.56, while junior setter Laurie Yearout (Spokane/Lewis & Clark) is runner-up in assists at 10.81. Hutchinson ranks 14th nationally and Yearout 24th.
Adkins is fifth among GNAC leaders in service aces with a 0.36 average.
WWU holds 36-25 series advantage over Seattle Pacific, but has lost five of the last six meetings, including 3-2 in last year's West Regional semifinal.
The Vikings have not lost to MSUB in 12 series meetings, sweeping the last 10 confrontations.
Flick (12th year, 246-69) has a .781 winning percentage which 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.
Overall, Western is 218-78 (.736) in 38 years at Carver Gym.
Geary was the GNAC co-Player of the Week of Sept. 11-17, and Jepsen was picked to the all-tournament team at the Cal State San Bernardino Coyote Labor Day Classic.
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