WWU opens the 2018 season with a pair of defeats vs. ranked opponents at the West Florida Invitational. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
WWU Volleyball Opens Season with Losses vs.
August 24, 2018
PENSACOLA, Fla. – The No. 5-ranked Western Washington University volleyball team was upended by No. 2-ranked Southwest Minnesota State in three sets Friday afternoon at Hartsell Arena during the first day of the 2018 West Florida Invitational.
The Vikings (0-2) endured their second 3-0 loss of the day, also falling to No. 24 Wheeling Jesuit this morning. Game scores in the loss to the Mustangs were 16-25, 19-25, 21-25.
WWU was held to a .090 hitting percentage in the contest, recording 22 attack errors, while SMSU hit at a .232 clip. The Mustangs also held statistical advantages over the Vikings in digs (64-47), blocks (5.0-4.0), assists (39-30) and service aces (6-0).
“We are getting closer, just need to smooth out the runs of points we are giving up on our errors,” said 19th-year head coachDiane Flick-Williams. “The good news is unforced errors are within our control so it’s something we can get better at. That’s why we are playing the competition we are this early in the season.”
Senior outside hitter Abby Phelps (Manson, WA/Chelan), senior middle Michaela Hall (Centralia, WA) and junior middleKayleigh Harper (Oak Harbor, WA) all totaled 8 kills in the match to lead the Vikings. Hall added a pair of blocks to finish with a team-high 9.5 points. Phelps finished with 17 digs to lead the defense.
SMSU was led by a pair of players recording double-digits in kills, with Taylor Reiss notching a match-high 15 kills (also 9 digs) and Kaylee Burmeister adding an 11-kill, 11-dig double-double.
The Vikings return to the court Saturday for the final day of the West Florida Invitational, taking on No. 7 Regis (9 am CT/7 am PT) and tournament host No. 15 West Florida (4:30 pm CT/2:30 pm PT). Both matches can be followed via a live webcast and live stats with links available at WWUVikings.com/Live.
MATCH NOTES…Abby Phelps moved into 6th place in WWU history with 1,175 career kills, passing Lorrie Post (1,174, 1987-90)…Phelps also moved into the No. 23 spot in GNAC history passing Leah Swiss (UAA, 1,172, 2014-17)…sophomore Janae Payne (Oak Harbor, WA) made her collegiate debut appearing in one set…this was the third meeting between the two programs, and first since 2001, with SMSU winning all three meetings.
HOME OPENER…The home opener on WECU Court in Carver Gym will be Thursday, Sept. 6 against Seattle Pacific. Single-game and season tickets for the volleyball season are now on sale at WWUVikings.com/Tickets.
Kills - Phelps (8), Hall (8), Harper (8)
Aces - None
Blocks - Hall (2), Boesel (1), Phelps (1)
Assists - Boesel (27), Hall (1), Davenport (1)
Digs - Phelps (17), Stephens (13), Thungc (7)
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