Three GNAC Teams Make Volleyball West Region Field
The league' automatic qualifier for the third year, Western Washington is making its 14th all-time Division II playoff appearance.
The league' automatic qualifier for the third year, Western Washington is making its 14th all-time Division II playoff appearance.

Monday, November 25, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – Once again, the West Regional of the NCAA Division II Volleyball Championship will have a distinctly GNAC flavor to it.

Western Washington, Alaska Anchorage and Central Washington were selected to the 64-team field that was announced on Monday. The Vikings earned the region’s No. 2 seed. Alaska Anchorage received the No. 4 seed and Central Washington is the No. 8 seed.

This year’s regional will be held at Cal State San Bernardino’s Coussoluis Arena. First-round matches are tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 5. Western Washington will meet No. 7 seed Hawaii Hilo in the opening round. Alaska Anchorage will face No. 5 seed UC San Diego while Central Washington takes on the No. 1 seed and undefeated Coyotes. The fourth match in the opening round will feature No. 3 seed Cal State LA and No. 6 seed Azusa Pacific. Match times are to be announced.

Earning the conference’s automatic qualifier by winning the GNAC championship for the third consecutive year, Western Washington is in the tournament for the eighth straight year and the 14th time in program history. The Vikings enter with a 26-2 overall record and went 18-2 in conference play. Western advanced to the Division II national championship match last year, losing in five sets to Tampa.

Western Washington leads the conference in hitting percentage (.273), assists per set (13.21), blocks per set (2.95), opponent hitting percentage (.126) and kills per set (13.97). The Vikings lead Division II in blocks per set, rank sixth in kills per set, 10th in assists per set and 17th in opponent hitting percentage.

Alaska Anchorage is in the tournament field for the first time since 2017 and for the fifth time in the last six years. The Seawolves closed the regular season with a 22-6 overall record and in second place in the GNAC at 17-3. Alaska Anchorage holds the distinction of being the only team so far this season to beat Western Washington, sweeping the season series.

The Seawolves enter the tournament leading the GNAC and ranked eighth in Division II with 2.17 aces per set. The Seawolves rank second in the GNAC in hitting percentage (.236) and blocks per set (2.56) and are third in opponent hitting percentage (.156). Among Division II programs, UAA is sixth in blocks per set and 31st in hitting percentage.

Central Washington notched its eighth consecutive trip to the postseason with an 18-10 overall record and beat Simon Fraser on the final day of the regular season to pull into a tie for third place in the GNAC at 13-7. The Wildcats secured their return by winning six of their last eight matches, which included a five-set win over Alaska Anchorage on Nov. 2. The Wildcats enter the tournament ranked second in the GNAC with a .155 opponent hitting percentage and third with 12.93 kills and 12.09 assists per set.