RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- The Western Washington University volleyball program will take a 20-match winning streak into tonight's NCAA Division II Championships West Regional Final, the third consecutive season the Vikings have reached the regional championship match.
The Vikings (27-3) will face regional rival Cal State San Bernardino in a rematch of the 2007 and 2015 NCAA II West Regional Final, won both times by Western.
Tonght's match starts at 7 pm in Van Dyne Gym on the California Baptist University campus in Riverside, Calif. No. 2-seed WWU advanced to the final with 3-1 victories over No. 7-seed Alaska Anchorage and No. 3-seed Northwest Nazarene. No. 4-seed CSUSB (23-7) advanced with a 3-2 win over No. 5-seed Azusa Pacific and upset previously unbeaten and No. 1-seed Cal Baptist in four sets.
The match will be streamed live online via GNAC.tv and will also feature live statistical updates.
The Winning Streak:
WWU has won 20 consecutive matches, tied for the third-longest winning streak in program history and currently tied for the third-longest active winning streak among DII programs (trails Flagler/New Haven with 21 straight wins). During the winning streak that started following a 3-1 loss at NNU on Sept. 16, WWU has dropped only seven sets.
WWU is making its 12th appearance in the NCAA Championships and sixth consecutive. The Vikings are 16-11 all-time in NCAA Championshps play, with two West Regional titles (2007 & 2015).
Friday's 3-1 victory over Northwest Nazarene was the 900th in the 46-year history of the program. WWU owns an all-time 900-557-7 record for a .617 winning percentage. Over the last six seasons WWU has combined for a 145-32 record (.819) and the current senior class has a 98-24 record (.803). Head coach Diane Flick-Williams is in her 18th season leading the program and has a 394-102 all-time record (.794).
How the Vikings Advanced:
WWU recorded a pair of 3-1 victories over GNAC rivals Alaska Anchorage (26-24, 23-25, 25-18, 25-18) and Northwest Nazarene (22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-23) to advance to tonight's West Regional Final. In the two postseason matches, WWU has averagd 15.62 kills/set, 22.12 digs/set and 2.50 blocks/set. Junior outside hitter Abby Phelps is averaging 6.12 kills and 4.75 digs per set to lead the Vikings, which included a 28-kill effort vs. UAA.
Series vs. San Bernardino:
Cal State San Bernardino leads the all-time series vs. WWU 12-5, but the Vikings have had the upper hand of late winning three of the last four matches. Tonight will be the sixth meeting between the two programs in the postseason, with WWU holding a 3-2 edge in the NCAA II Championships. The Vikings beat CSUSB 3-0 in the 2007 West Regional Final, 3-2 in the 2015 regional final and 3-0 in last season's semifinal round in Anchorage, Alaska.
Here is a look at the statistical comparision between the two programs:
The Sweet 16:
WWU is one of 16 remaining teams in the NCAA Division II Championships, with each of the eight regional winners advancing to next week's Elite 8 in Pensacola, Fla. (hosted by West Florida). All the NCAA II Championships action can be tracked on the NCAA II Volleyball scoreboard.
On the Court Tonight:
Tonight's match will feature five players that were named to the AVCA All-West Region team, with three Vikings and two Coyotes. WWU's Abby Phelps and Brette Boesel were first-team selections, as was CSUSB's Lauren Nicholson. Joellee Buckner from WWU and Hailey Jackson from CSUSB were honorable mention selections.
Did You Know?
WWU's Abby Phelps and CSUSB's Lauren Nicholson are two of the top four kills per set leaders in the NCAA II West Region? Phelps ranks 2nd with 4.30 kills per set, while Nicholson is 4th checking in with 4.22 per set. Phelps is also 2nd among West Region players with 4.93 points per set, while Nicholson is 6th with 4.53.
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