Lucky Seven: Wildcats Advance In Volleyball West Regional
Kyla Morgan (center), the GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, finished with 21 digs in the victory.
Kyla Morgan (center), the GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, finished with 21 digs in the victory.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The seventh time was a charm.

After going down in the first set, No. 6 seed Central Washington rallied back and took No. 3 Cal State LA the distance to beat the Golden Eagles in five sets in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Volleyball West Regional at Carver Gymnasium.

After dropping the first set, the Wildcats came back to win the next two sets before Cal State LA took a convincing 25-12 victory in the fourth. The letdown proved temporary for Central Washington, which led most of the fifth set en route to the 15-11 set and match win.

The win was the first for Central Washington in seven consecutive trips to the West Regional. It is also the Wildcats’ first postseason win since a five-set win over Cal Poly Pomona in the 2005 regional tournament.

Senior outside hitter Shelby Mauritson led Central Washington with a double-double of 14 kills and 13 digs. Senior outside hitter Madison Weg also had 14 kills to go with seven digs and four blocks while junior outside hitter Bridgette Webb finished with 10 kills, four blocks and a .304 hitting percentage. Junior setter Gabrielle Aihara finished with 43 assists while senior libero Kyla Morgan finished with 21 digs and two aces.

Cal State LA was led by 24 kills and 20 digs from sophomore outside hitter Karla Santos. Sophomore outside hitter Alejandra Negron added a double-double of 14 kills and 20 digs. Senior setter Kelsey Molnar finished with a double-double of 55 assists and 11 digs while sophomore libero Jeshmarie Suarez finished with 15 digs and five assists.

With the win, Central Washington earns the right to face No. 2 seed Cal State San Bernardino, which beat No. 7 seed Chaminade in three sets in the second match of the tournament. The match on Friday begins at 5 p.m.