Junior defensive specialist Mae Thungc recorded 12 digs to help pace the WWU defense. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
Vikings Win 10th Straight with Sweep over
September 21, 2018
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The No. 8 nationally-ranked Western Washington University volleyball team won its 10th consecutive match with a 3-0 sweep over Alaska Fairbanks Thursday evening in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action on WECU Court in Carver Gym. Game scores were 25-19, 25-15, 25-19 in favor of the Vikings.
WWU improved to 10-3 overall and remains in first place in the GNAC with a 5-0 record. In addition to 10 consecutive wins this season, WWU has now won its last 23 conference games dating back to last season and won 18 in a row inside Carver Gym. Alaska falls to 3-9 overall and 1-4 in league play.
Junior middle Kayleigh Harper (Oak Harbor, WA) tied for the team lead with 10 kills, but paced the Vikings with 9 blocks (1 solo, 8 block assists) to finish with a match-high 15.0 points.
Senior outside hitter Abby Phelps (Manson, WA/Chelan) finished with a 10-kill, 10-dig double-double, her 11th of the season, and senior middle Michaela Hall (Centralia, WA) added 10 kills and 6 blocks. Redshirt freshman Gabby Gunterman (Lake Stevens, WA) added 8 kills on an efficient .429 hitting percentage.
“I think it was another case where we got better throughout the match and had another good team effort,” said head coach Diane Flick-Williams. “We need to work on some things before Saturday as the match with Anchorage is always a great battle, but we look forward to playing them because it is such a great rivalry.”
Senior setter Brette Boesel (Brewster, WA) ran the offense with a match-high 38 assists and contributed 5 blocks.
The Vikings out-blocked Alaska 15.0-8.0, with the 15 blocks tied for 2nd-most in a 3-set match during the rally-scoring era (since 2001).
Senior libero Aubrey Stephens (Colville, WA) led the Vikings with 16 digs, with junior defensive specialist Mae Thungc (Kent, WA/Kentridge) adding 12 digs.
“Aubrey and Mae were key for us on defense tonight, creating a lot of second and third chances for our attackers to make plays,” added Flick-Williams.
The Nanooks were led by a match-high 13 kills from sophomore outside hitter Lahra Weber and 16 digs by freshman libero Makena Overbey.
SET 1 (WWU 25, UAF 19): The Vikings opened the match with a 25-19 first-set victory over the Nanooks, using a mid-set 8-2 run to build a substantial lead. After fighting through 6 ties and 5 lead changes early in the set, the Vikings came out of their timeout on a 6-0 run after trailing 11-8, and finished on a 16-8 spurt to go up 1-0 in the match. Phelps, Hall and Harper each had 3 kills in the set, with Hall also contributing 3 blocks. WWU hit .194 (12-5-36) compared to UAF’s .068 (12-9-44).
SET 2 (WWU 25, UAF 15): WWU went up 2-0 in the match with a 25-15 win in the second set. Leading for much of the set, UAF pulled to within 3 points at 18-15, but the Vikings responded with a 7-0 run to end the set. Harper paced the offense with 6 kills on a .500 hitting percentage and 5 blocks in the set.
SET 3 (WWU 25, UAF 19): Western completed the sweep with a 25-19 victory in the third set, led by 5 kills from Phelps and 4 kills and 3 blocks from Hall. The early part of the set featured five ties, but WWU went on a 4-0 run to take an early 8-5 lead. UAF answered with a 4-0 run to lead 9-8, but the Vikings came right back with a 5-0 run to lead 13-9 and never looked back winning by the six-point margin.
The Vikings (10-3, 5-0 GNAC) now turn their attention to GNAC rival Alaska Anchorage, hosting the Seawolves (11-2, 4-1 GNAC) on Saturday night at 7 pm in Caver Gym. Admission to the game will be free for all WWU students and advance tickets for the public are available online at WWUVikings.com/Tickets.
MATCH NOTES…WWU extended winning streaks of 10 matches (overall in 2018), 18 matches (inside Carver Gym dating back to 2014) and 23 matches (in GNAC games dating back to last season)…WWU has won 13 consecutive sets dating back to its match vs. SPU on Sept. 6…during the 10-match winning streak, the Vikings have won 30 of 36 sets…WWU now leads the all-time series vs. UAF 34-17, including a 34-3 mark in GNAC play…won last 20 meetings vs. the Nanooks and improved to 23-0 all-time vs. UAF in Bellingham…the 15.0 team blocks are tied for 2nd-most in a match this season by the Vikings and tied for 2nd-most in a 3-set match dating back to 1998 (had 17.0 last season at Simon Fraser)…Michaela Hall gained sole possession of 9th in the WWU record book with 363 career blocks and Kayleigh Harper slid into the WWU top 10 with 360 career blocks…Aubrey Stephensmoved into 16th in WWU history with 935 career digs, 65 short of becoming the 14th Viking player with 1,000 digs in a career.
FOLLOW THE VIKS…Fans can follow WWU Volleyball online at WWUVikings.com/VB, and via social media on Twitter (@WWUVolleyball), Instagram (@WWUVB) and Facebook (@WWUVolleyball).
Kills - Phelps (10), Hall (10), Harper (10)
Aces - Phelps (1), Davenport (1), Stephens (1)
Blocks - Harper (9), Hall (6), Boesel (5)
Assists - Boesel (38), Phelps (1), Hall (1)
Digs - Stephens (16), Thungc (12), Phelps (10)
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