Western earns berth at NCAA II Pacific Regional
Nov. 5, 2006
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Making its first post-season appearance in three years, the Western Washington University volleyball team has earned the No.7 seed and will face No.2 UC San Diego in a opening-round match Thursday (2:30 p.m.) at the NCAA Division II Pacific Regional at Coussoulis Arena in San Bernardino, Calif.
It is the fourth trip to regionals for the Vikings during coach Diane Flick's (149-41) seven-year tenure. They are 18-6 this season, placing second in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with a 14-2 mark. UC San Diego, which won a regional title in 2001, is 23-2 and was the runner-up in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
"I'm just pleased that we're going, it was not an expectation at the beginning of the year," said Flick. "I'm happy that our team is going to experience this as we continue on our journey coming back intact next year.
"UC San Diego is always a tough team. They not only play with confidence, but they have a lot of depth. We will have to be at the top of our game to take one off of them."
Host and No.1 seed Cal State San Bernardino (25-1), the CCAA champion, plays No.8 seed Central Washington (19-7) at 7:30 p.m. The Coyotes also hosted the regional tournament in 2001 and 2002, placing second both years. They have reached the regional final in each of the last six seasons, claiming titles in 2003 and 2004.
No.3 seed Brigham Young-Hawaii, the only unbeaten team in Division II at 20-0 and the Pacific West Conference champion, faces No.6 seed and defending champion Cal State L.A. (17-8) at 12 noon.
No.4 seed Seattle Pacific (24-2), the GNAC champion, meets No.5 seed Chico State (20-5) at 5 p.m.
The four first-round winners advance to Friday's semifinals, with BYU-Hawaii or Cal State L.A. going against UC San Diego or Western at 5 p.m., and Seattle Pacific or Chico State facing Cal State San Bernardino or Central Washington at 7:30 p.m. Saturday's final is slated for 7 p.m. with the Pacific Region winner advancing to the NCAA II Elite Eight.
Western is led by junior libero Courtney Schneider (Jr., Snohomish), who is the national leader in digs per game at 7.65. She needs just 11 more to break her school and league record of 646 set last season.
The Vikings have five players averaging more the 2.00 kills per game, led by Jaime Anderson (Jr., SeaTac/Mount Rainier) with a team-high 3.73 (310, .187). Also in that group are Angie Alvord (So., Laurel/Meridian) 2.58 (214, .244), Tiana Roma (So., Edmonds/Edmonds-Woodway) 2.96 (246, .301), Emily Castro (Jr., Bellingham/Whatcom CC) 2.85 (202, .244) and Marissa Hill (So., North Bend/Mount Si) 2.09 (167, .160). Roma tops the squad in attack percentage as does Alvord in service aces (0.45, 37) and blocks (1.37, 114). Roma is second in blocks at 0.95 (79).
Setter Katie Robinson (Jr., Everson/Nooksack Valley) directs the attack, averaging 11.69 (1,434) assists per game. She also has 30 aces (0.38).
Western met UC San Diego earlier this season, being swept by the Tritons at the UC San Diego Invitational Tournament on Aug. 24. The Vikings also fell to Cal State L.A. and Cal State San Bernardino at that tournament. They have beaten Central twice and fallen twice to Seattle Pacific.
Western's other three regional appearances were when just six teams were invited. The Vikings were semifinalists in 2001 and 2003, and were eliminated in the first round in 2001.
Tickets go on sale Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Coussoulis Arena box office. Prices range from $7 for reserved seats to $5 for general admission. Students with ID, children 12-under and senior citizens will be admitted for $3. There will be no complimentary tickets. Parking at the CSUSB campus is $4 per vehicle.
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