Nov. 8, 2011
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Needing wins to keep alive any hopes of earning a berth in the NCAA Division II West Regional, the Western Washington University volleyball team closes out its regular season this week on the road, traveling to arch-rival Central Washington on Thursday (7 p.m.) and to Northwest Nazarene on Saturday (7 p.m.) for a pair of Great Northwest Athletic Conference matches.
The Vikings, 15-5 overall, are tied for second-place in the GNAC at 13-3 with Alaska Anchorage. Seattle Pacific leads by one-half match at 14-3. WWU and Seattle Pacific tied for last year's GNAC crown.
Because of tie-breaker scenarios, WWU can't earn the automatic regional berth that goes to the GNAC champion and the Vikings would need some major upsets to gain one of the at-large berths.
Last week, WWU finished 8-1 at home, rallying from an 8-1 deficit in the decisive fifth set to upset nationally No.24-ranked Seattle Pacific and sweeping Montana State Billings.
Earlier this season, the Vikings swept both Central and Northwest Nazarene at Sam Carver Gymnasium. They hold a 60-39-1 series advantage over the Wildcats and a 27-5 edge over NNU.
Central is 13-11 overall (4-4 at home) and 7-9 in league action. The Wildcats have lost seven of their last 12 matches following an 8-4 start.
NNU ranked No.7 in last week's regional poll and is tied for fourth in the GNAC standings at 11-5. The Crusaders are 16-7 overall (host Simon Fraser on Thursday) and 7-2 at home, winning nine of their last 11 matches. Included among those victories is a 3-2 road win over Seattle Pacific and a 3-1 home victory over Alaska Anchorage.
Junior outside hitter Marlayna Geary (Tacoma/Bellarmine) earned GNAC co-Player of the Week honors for the second time this season and the fourth time in her three-year career as she posted double-doubles in kills and digs in both matches, giving her 12 for the year.
Geary ranks 19th among NCAA Division II national leaders in average kills per set at 4.15 (299) and 28th in points at 4.54 (327). She is second in the GNAC in both kills and points, and eighth in digs at 4.11 (296).
Senior middle blocker Emily Jepsen (Kennewick/Kamiakin) ranks among the top 10 GNAC leaders in four categories, being second in blocks at 1.06 (76), third in attack percentage at .309, eighth in points at 3.94 (283.5), and 10th in kills at 3.17 (228).
Redshirt freshman libero Samantha Hutchinson (University Place/Curtis) is second in the GNAC in digs at 576 (415), while junior setter Laurie Yearout (Spokane/Lewis & Clark) is runner-up in assists at 11.12 (801). Hutchinson ranks 13th nationally and Yearout 20th.
In team statistics, WWU ranks second in the GNAC in opponent hitting percentage (.165), assists (898, 12.47), kills (956, 13.28) and digs (1,252, 17.39).
Head coach Diane Flick (12th year, 248-69) has a .782 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.
The Vikings have lost just 12 times in 117 matches at Carver Gym, a winning percentage of .897, since Flick became head coach in 2000 and WWU went to a SportCourt surface. Overall, WWU is 220-78 (.738) in 38 years at home.
Jepsen was picked to the all-tournament team at the Cal State San Bernardino Coyote Labor Day Classic.
The SPU match was the final home appearance for three Viking seniors - Adkins, opposite-side hitter Breanna Graham (Vancouver/Hockinson), who had a career-high 15 kills versus the Falcons, and Jepsen.
No. 13 Volleyball Sweeps Montana State Billings
Abby Phelps, Michaela Hall and Joellee Buckner all record 11 kills in the victory
No. 13 Vikings Open New Carver With 3-1 Win over Simon Fraser
Vikings feed off energy of crowd of 1,289 in return to campus on WECU Court
Volleyball Opens New Carver Gym on Tuesday
Vikings host Simon Fraser at 7 pm in first official competition on WECU Court at Carver Gym
Volleyball Falls to Undefeated Northwest Nazarene
WWU drops tough GNAC match-up to Crusaders in four sets (25-21, 21-25, 20-25, 17-25)
Volleyball Set to Debut at New Carver Gym on Tuesday
Tuesday GNAC match vs. Simon Fraser will be first event on WECU Court at Carver Gym
No. 10 Volleyball Opens GNAC Play With Win over Central
Vikings win fourth straight match to improve to 7-2 overall and 1-0 in GNAC play
10th-Ranked Volleyball Opens GNAC Play on the Road
Vikings travel to play rival Central Washington and undefeated Northwest Nazarene to open GNAC play
Phelps and Buckner Named to West Region Showcase All-Tournament
WWU duo helps nationally-ranked Vikings to a 3-1 records in the 'A' pod of the West Region Showcase
Joslyn Bopray Named GNAC Defensive Player of the Week
Bopray helped lead strong WWU defensive front at West Region Showcase in Alaska
No. 10 Vikings Sweep Chico State in West Region Showcase
Joellee Buckner records double-double with 14 kills and 20 digs
Vikings Cap Perfect Day with 3-1 Win over Concordia-Irvine
Abby Phelps and Arielle Turner lead the way for Vikings with double-doubles
No. 10 Vikings Rally Past No. 11 San Bernardino in Five Sets
Vikings record 17.0 total blocks in 25-19, 20-25, 20-25, 25-15, 15-12 victory
Volleyball Falls in Straight Sets to #24 California Baptist
Vikings fall to 3-2 on the season with loss to open D2 West Region Showcase
No. 10 Volleyball Heads to D2 West Region Showcase
The Vikings will take on three ranked opponents in their four matches in Anchorage
Vikings Outlast Florida Southern in Five-Set Victory
Michaela Hall records career-high 19 kills as Vikings cap Florida trip with 3-1 record