Senior Abby Phelps finished with 16 kills and 14 digs for her eighth double-double of the season. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
No. 12 Vikings Open GNAC Play with 3-1 Win over SPU
September 7, 2018
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The No. 12 Western Washington University volleyball team opened Great Northwest Athletic Conference play with a four-set victory over Seattle Pacific on Thursday evening on WECU Court in Carver Gym.
WWU (6-3, 1-0 GNAC) extended its winning streak to six consecutive matches with the 25-18, 25-14, 23-25, 25-21 victory over the Falcons (2-6, 0-1 GNAC).
“I thought we battled through some rocky times pretty well tonight and ended with a solid result to open the conference season,” said head coach Diane Flick-Williams, who recorded her 400th career victory. “We came out strong which was great to see, we just need to sustain that throughout the whole match.”
Western senior outside hitter Abby Phelps (Manson, WA/Chelan) finished with a team-high 16 kills on a .288 hitting percentage, adding 14 digs for her eighth double-double of the season (in 9 matches).
“Abby is so efficient, even when she is struggling a little bit, it doesn’t mean she is making errors,” said Flick-Williams on her senior All-American. “She is very aggressive in her play and has been very consistent for us.”
Junior middle Kayleigh Harper (Oak Harbor, WA) added 12 kills on a .500 hitting percentage and contributed 6 blocks. Senior middle Michaela Hall (Centralia, WA) added 10 kills (.391) and 6 blocks to combine with Harper to dominate the net.
“Our middles were making shots we needed them to make, and made them at key times,” said Flick-Williams. “They were set up because of great first-ball contacts by Mae (Thungc) and Aubrey (Stephens).”
The defensive tandem of senior Aubrey Stephens (Colville, WA) and junior Mae Thungc (Kent, WA/Kentridge) combined for 37 digs, with Stephens recording a team-high 20 digs.
SPU was led by a career-high kill performance from senior opposite Hailey Gaines, who led the Falcons with 14 kills. Senior libero Amanda Ganette recorded a match-high 22 digs.
Led by six blocks each from Harper and Hall, the Vikings out-blocked the Falcons 13.0 to 2.0 and out-hit SPU .279 to .133. SPU recorded more kills (52-51) and digs (82-74) than the Vikings in the match.
The victory gave 19th-year head coach Diane Flick-Williams her 400th career victory, making her the 32nd NCAA Division II coach to reach that milestone.
“I said this to the team… that 400 wins represents to me all the people who have played in a Viking uniform,” said Flick-Williams on her milestone victory. “I appreciate every single one of them because they all are connected through sharing the same values and passion for being a Viking. I can't thank them enough for all they have done, as this number is truly reflective of the players that have come through the program.”
The Vikings remain at home hosting Saint Martin’s (2-5, 0-1 GNAC) this Saturday on WECU Court with first serve set for 7 pm inside Carver Gym. Single game and season tickets for the volleyball season are on sale at WWUVikings.com/Tickets.
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