WWU improves to 18-3 overall and remains perfect in the GNAC with a 13-0 conference record. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
Vikings Extend Winning Streak with 3-1 Victory at Alaska Anchorage
October 19, 2018
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Led by another solid performance by middles Kayleigh Harper and Michaela Hall, the No. 4 nationally-ranked Western Washington University Volleyball team defeated Alaska Anchorage in four sets Thursday night in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action at the Alaska Airlines Center.
WWU won its 18th consecutive match to improve to 18-3 overall and remains perfect in GNAC play at 13-0 with the 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19 victory over the Seawolves. In addition to the 18-match winning streak, the Vikings have also won 31 consecutive GNAC contests dating back to last season. Alaska Anchorage falls to 16-5 overall and slips into a second-place tie in the GNAC with a 9-4 league record.
“What a tough battle with Anchorage, like it always is,” said 19th-year WWU head coach Diane Flick-Williams. “They are a gritty team and tonight was a prize fight.”
The Vikings continue their Alaskan road trip on Saturday matching up against Alaska Fairbanks at 1 pm AKT/2 pm PT. The Nanooks carry a 7-match winning streak into the contest vs. the first-place Vikings after beating Simon Fraser 3-2 on Thursday night in Fairbanks.
Harper (Oak Harbor, WA) recorded a match-high 16 kills on a .395 hitting percentage and also had 3 blocks, while Hall (Centralia, WA) added 12 kills on a .600 hitting percentage and contributed a match-high 6 blocks.
“Kayleigh and Michaela were a very steady force for us as we battled the grind of the match,” added Flick-Williams.
Senior outside hitter Abby Phelps (Manson, WA/Chelan) recorded a 14-kill, 21-dig double-double and redshirt freshman Gabby Gunterman (Lake Stevens, WA) had 13 kills and 4 blocks.
While the Vikings had four players in double-figures in kills, it was the defense that may have had the biggest influence on extending the winning streak to 18 consecutive matches. WWU totaled 96 digs in the four-set match, with senior libero Aubrey Stephens (Colville, WA) leading the way with a season-high 29 digs.
“Our defense was key to give us second opportunities tonight,” said Flick-Williams. “Recording 96 digs in four sets shows a lot of heart.”
In addition to Phelps’ 21-dig effort, sophomore Alison Davenport (Auburn, WA/Auburn Mountainview) and junior Mae Thungc(Kent, WA/Kentridge) each added 16 digs. Davenport also had 5 blocks and 5 kills for the solid all-around effort.
Senior setter and reigning GNAC Offensive Player of the Week Brette Boesel (Brewster, WA) led all players with 49 assists and nearly totaled a double-double with 9 digs.
The Seawolves had three players reach double-digits in kills, led by 14 from freshman outside hitter Eve Stephens.
The Vikings (18-3, 13-0 GNAC) continue their Alaskan road trip facing Alaska Fairbanks (10-10, 8-5) on Saturday at 1 pm AKT/2 pm PT. The match will be stream live and feature live statistical updates at GNAC.tv.
MATCH NOTES…the match featured 30 tie scores and 15 lead changes…the Vikings hit .211 as a team in the match, compared to UAA at .161…the Vikings have had a higher team hitting percentage than their opponent in all but one match during the 18-match winning streak…Thursday’s team hitting percentage snapped a streak of five consecutive matches with a .300 or greater hitting percentage.
STREAK NOTES…WWU extended winning streaks of 18 matches this season and 31 consecutive GNAC victories (dating back to last season)…during the 18-match winning streak, the Vikings have won 54 of 64 sets and recorded (11 sweeps)…18 consecutive wins is tied for the 5th-longest winning streak in program history.
THE PHELPS TRACKER…Abby Phelps moved into the all-time GNAC top 5 for kills with 1,453, passing Northwest Nazarene’s Louise Free on the list…now one kill short of No. 4 Alyssa Given (SPU) on the list…Phelps became the GNAC’s all-time leader in attack attempts with 4,461, passing the old mark of 4,408 by Kendra Bodine of NNU…Phelps also moved into 4th place in GNAC history with 1,654.5 points (kills+aces+block solo+½ block assist)…her 21 digs Thursday night moved her over 1,700 for her career, moving into 3rd place in WWU history with 1,710 career digs…also moved into 9th in GNAC history in career digs.
AGAINST ANCHORAGE…WWU completed the regular-season sweep over Alaska Anchorage for the second straight season and has a current 5-match winning streak vs. UAA…leads the all-time series 36-17, including a 20-9 record in Anchorage…WWU has won the last 7 GNAC contests vs. UAA in Anchorage…won 22 of the last 24 matches in the state of Alaska and are 13-2 all-time in the Alaska Airlines Center (5-1 vs. UAA).
BLOCK LEADERS…Michaela Hall and Kayleigh Harper continue to leapfrog each other in the WWU record book for most career blocks…Hall led all players with 6 blocks Thursday night, giving her 391 in her career for 7th-most in WWU history…Harper had 3 blocks to give her 390 in her career, tied for 8th-most in program history.