WWU makes statement going 4-0 at the D2 West Region Volleyball Showcase. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
#15 Vikings Sweep Biola to Cap Perfect Tournament
September 2, 2018
AZUSA, Calif. – The Western Washington University volleyball team capped a perfect 4-0 performance at the 2018 D2 West Region Volleyball Showcase with a three-game sweep over Biola on Saturday morning in the Felix Event Center on the Azusa Pacific University campus.
The nationally-ranked No. 15 Vikings extended their winning streak to five consecutive matches to improve to 5-3 on the season, beating Biola by scores of 25-10, 25-23, 25-18. WWU beat #9 Cal State San Bernadino (3-2), Azusa Pacific (3-0) and Sonoma State (3-1) in the previous two days of the tournament. Biola evened its season record at 3-3.
“I couldn’t be happier with this weekend’s performance,” said head coach Diane Flick-Williams. “We showed a lot of grit and everyone contributed to a successful weekend.”
Senior outside hitter Abby Phelps (Manson, WA/Chelan) capped a strong tournament performance with yet another double-double, leading the Vikings with 13 kills and 13 digs. In 8 matches this season, the 2017 GNAC Player of the Year and First Team AVCA All-American is averaging 4.00 kills and 4.60 digs per match.
“Abby had another great match this morning and really took control at the end of the second set when it was tight,” added Flick-Williams on her senior outside hitter.
Senior middle Michaela Hall (Centralia, WA) recorded a season-high 10 kills on a .562 hitting percentage (10-1-16) and led the team with a pair of blocks.
“Michaela finished the tournament with her best performance and was joined by Gabby (Gunterman) and Ali (Alison Davenport) that had solid matches,” said Flick-Williams. “What a fantastic team effort, not only today, but all weekend.”
Senior libero Aubrey Stephens (Colville, WA) led all players with 15 digs and also had a pair of service aces, and junior defensive specialist Mae Thungc (Kent, WA/Kentridge) added 11 digs for her fifth consecutive double-digit dig performance.
“Our defense was really good this weekend and Aubrey and Mae lead that charge,” continued Flick-Williams.
Overall the Vikings hit a season-high .312, making only 11 errors on 109 attacks.
Biola was led by 10 kills by Karly Dantuma.
The Vikings set the tone early with a 25-10 domination in the first set, with the team recording a .424 hitting percentage (15-1-33). Western pulled away from an early 3-3 tie by going on a 7-0 run and never looked back. A mini 3-1 run by Biola closed the gap to 12-5, but the Vikings answered with a 5-1 run capped by a pair of service aces by sophomore Janae Payne (Oak Harbor, WA). A balanced effort had Hall and sophomore Alison Davenport (Auburn, WA/Auburn Riverside) with 4 kills each, and 2 each from Phelps and Harper.
Western had to stage a dramatic rally in the second set to go up 2-0, scoring 6 of the last 7 points to record a 25-23 win. WWU led early 10-5, but Biola answered with a 7-2 run to tie the set at 12-12. After a back-and-forth middle of the set, Biola went on a 6-1 run to turn a 2-point deficit (trailed 18-16) into a 3-point lead at 22-19. Western called a timeout to shift the momentum and went on to win 6 of the last 7 points, including a decisive 5-0 run after trailing 23-20. Phelps and Hall each had 5 kills in the set to lead the Vikings.
WWU completed the sweep with a 25-18 win in the third set, using an early 9-0 run to pull away from Biola. The Vikings trailed 6-5 early, but Stephens served Western to a lengthy run to build a 14-6 run to put the set out of reach. The Eagles got to within 5 points at 20-15 going on a 4-1 run, but the Vikings closed out the match for their second sweep of the tournament. Phelps closed out the win with 5 kills and 5 digs in the final set.
With the non-conference portion of the schedule completed, WWU is set to make its home debut next week hosting Seattle Pacific (Thursday, 7 pm) and Saint Martin’s (Saturday, 7 pm) on WECU Court at Carver Gym. Single game and season tickets for the volleyball season are on sale at WWUVikings.com/Tickets.
MATCH NOTES…WWU completed a 4-0 run through the D2 West Region Showcase, improving to 17-3 all-time in the tournament since it started in 2014…of WWU’s eight non-conference opponents, five were ranked at the time played and all eight were listed in the AVCA Division II Preseason Poll (5 ranked, 3 receiving votes)…Abby Phelps climbed three spots in the GNAC record books from No. 15 to No. 12 with 1,275 career kills…Brette Boesel recorded a pair of services aces to give her 98 in her career, 2 short of becoming the 23rd player in program history with 100 aces…Aubrey Stephens has moved into the top 20 in program history with 867 career digs…head coach Diane Flick-Williams is now one win shy of becoming the 33rd NCAA II head coach to record the 400-win milestone (399-106/.790)…Janae Payne has recorded a service ace in each of her last 6 matches (appeared in 7 matches this season) and is averaging 0.41 aces per set (9 aces, 22 sets).
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 (13), Hall (10), Harper (9)
Aces - Boesel (2), Stephens (2), Payne (2)
Blocks - Hall (2), Phelps (1), Davenport (1)
Assists - Boesel (34)
Digs - Stephens (15), Phelps (13), Thungc (11)
-- @WWUVolleyball --