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Massive Upset Earns CWU Volleyball Team Of The Week
Central Washington has won eight of its last nine games and currently owns a three-game win streak. Senior middle blocker Sabrina Wheelhouse leads Division II with 1.73 blocks per set.
Central Washington has won eight of its last nine games and currently owns a three-game win streak. Senior middle blocker Sabrina Wheelhouse leads Division II with 1.73 blocks per set.

Monday, October 16, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – An early-week upset against then-undefeated No. 10 Northwest Nazarene and an impressive eight wins in its last nine matches has earned Central Washington volleyball this week’s GNAC/Red Lion Team of the Week award.

On Tuesday, the Wildcats handed No. 12 Northwest Nazarene its first loss of the season with a five-set victory in Ellensburg, Wash. With four players figuring in double-digit kill tallies, Central Washington edged NNU 25-16, 19-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-8. The Nighthawks’ loss marked their first conference defeat since Nov. 10 of last season.

"We knew it was going to be a marathon match," said CWU head coach Mario Andaya. "I am proud of how we sustained our offense tonight against a pretty good defense. I was most proud of how we didn't crack defensively, which has been a point of emphasis all year. NNU wins ball games because of their offense. If we could make some big stops and slow them down, we knew that we had a good chance to come away with the victory."

Middle blocker Sabrina Wheelhouse led the ‘Cats with 13 kills and a .440 hitting percentage. Outside hitters Shelby Mauritson and Bridgette Webb both totaled 12 kills each while Madison Weg added 10. Sophomore Gabrielle Aihara earned her seventh double-double of the season, recording 29 assists and 15 digs. The Nighthawks, who lead the league with a .248 hitting percentage, were limited to just a .171 average by Central Washington.

"Having multiple players with double-digit kills was huge," Andaya added. "Keeping them off balance with multiple options gave us a better chance to score. We found a good rhythm through our middles and it helped bolster our offensive production."

Coming off its huge win against the Nighthawks, Central Washington extended its winning streak to three games with a sweep of Montana State Billings (25-21, 25-13, 25-14) on Thursday. Mauritson led the Wildcats with a team-high 18 kills while sophomore Niki Cook recorded 19 assists and seven digs.

Prior to today, Central Washington has received votes for top-25 consideration in all seven American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II Coaches Polls this season. After winning eight of its last nine contests, the Wildcats leads all teams receiving votes with 52. The Wildcats lead the GNAC with 3.03 blocks per set and are holding opponents to a league-leading .148 hitting percentage. Wheelhouse is ranked first in Division II with 105 block assists and 1.73 blocks per set.

Central Washington hosts a pair of matches this week, taking on Western Oregon on Thursday and Concordia this Saturday. The Wildcats have defeated both teams this season by a combined six sets to one.

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