Volleyball: WWU Falls to No. 1 Regional Seed BYU-Hawaii
Western Washington finished its season Friday with a 24-4 record.
Western Washington finished its season Friday with a 24-4 record.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

LAIE, Hawaii - Outside hitter Marlayna Geary ended a prolific career with yet another outstanding performance, finishing with a match-high 21 kills and 13 digs as Western Washington fell 25-15, 23-25, 25-17, 25-18, to top seed BYU-Hawaii in a semifinal match of the NCAA Division II West Region volleyball tournament Friday at the Cannon Activities Center on the campus of host BYUH.

The No. 4-seeded Vikings, rated No.15 in the latest AVCA NCAA Division II Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, finished their season 24-4  BYU-Hawaii, ranked fifth, will take a 23-3 record into Saturday's championship game against four-time defending champion Cal State San Bernardino.

“We ran into a very good team in BYU-Hawaii,” said WWU coach Diane Flick (13th year, 272-73). “I think they play a great style of ball and I think we put some great pressure on them to elevate their play. A good indicator of that was the 96 digs they had to make.”

Geary’s double-double was her 18th of the season. She finished her four-year tenure with 1,354 kills, second among WWU leaders and just 25 shy of the school record. Her total also ranks sixth all-time in the GNAC.  She also had 983 digs, 10th all-time in school history, as she was 17 short of becoming just the fourth WWU player to reach the 1,000 plateau.

“Marlayna had great numbers again and played like the senior All-American that she is,” Flick said.

WWU senior setter Laurie Yearout (Spokane/Lewis & Clark) had 41 assists, 11 digs and two service aces. She finished fourth among school career leaders in assists with 3,116.

Middle blocker Kayla Erickson (So., Gig Harbor/Peninsula) had 12 kills for the Vikings, and libero Samantha Hutchinson (So., University Place/Curtis) had a match-high 29 digs.

BYU-Hawaii, which had a .315 attack percentage, had four players with double-figure kills led by Lauren Hagemeyer and Shih Ting Chen each with 19. Chen also had 18 digs. The Seasiders also got 15 kills and 17 digs from Michelle Tevaga.

WWU led 7-4 early in the first set, but the Seasiders went on an 8-1 run to take a 12-8 lead and won by 10.

Geary dominated the second set with eight kills, three to end the frame and tie the match at 1-1 after BYU-Hawaii had taken a 23-22 lead.

WWU scored the first four points of  the third set and were tied at 10-10 before the Seasiders went on a 6-1 run. The Vikings never got closer than four after that.

The fourth set was tied at 14-all on strong play by Erickson, but BYU-Hawaii scored 10 of the next 14 points to end the match.

“This team is really special and I’m really proud of all of them,” said Flick. “They had a great run. It’s unfortunate that we faced a great team so early in the post-season.”

This marked WWU’s seventh NCAA post-season appearance and the fourth time that it ended in the semifinals, the others being 2001, 2003 and 2010. The Vikings lost opening-round matches in 2002 and 2006 and won the regional title in 2007 when they reached the national championship match.

WWU, which swept Sonoma State in Thursday’s regional opening round, won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship with a 16-2 record to earn an automatic berth at regionals.