One-Two Showdown Set As Vikings Beat Broncos In Three
Western Washington and Cal State San Bernardino will meet in postseason play for the fifth consective year on Saturday.
Western Washington and Cal State San Bernardino will meet in postseason play for the fifth consective year on Saturday.

Friday, November 16, 2018

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – It was only a three-set match, but the action and the atmosphere made it feel like a five-set affair as top-seeded Western Washington defeated No. 4 seed Cal Poly Pomona, 25-22, 25-23, 26-24, in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II Volleyball West Regional at Carver Gymnasium.

The two squads engaged in a tight match from start to finish with 29 ties, 12 lead changes and neither team leading by more than five points in the final two sets. The Broncos outhit the Vikings .206 to .201 while both teams finished with nine blocks.

Senior outside hitter Abby Phelps led the Vikings with her 25th double-double of the season, compiling 13 kills and 14 digs. Junior middle blocker Kayleigh Harper finished with 13 kills and six blocks, hitting .346 for the match. Senior setter Brette Boesel finished with 36 assists and eight digs.

Senior middle blocker Kristen Hamlin led Cal Poly Pomona with 13 kills and six blocks with a .310 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Andrea Bosnic finished with a double-double of 12 kills and 17 digs. Senior libero Alex Bollier added 18 digs while freshman setter Kira Zimmerman finished with 38 assists.

The victory for Western Washington, ranked No. 2 in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top-25, was the team’s 27th consecutive win and improved the Vikings’ overall record to 27-3. The Vikings will face a longtime postseason rival in No. 1 ranked Cal State San Bernardino on Saturday at 7 p.m. This is the fifth consecutive year that the two teams have met in postseason play and the third time in a regional final since 2015.

The first set proved the only time that either team had more than a five-point lead with the Vikings jumping out to an early 7-2 lead on a pair of kills by Alison Davenport and Michaela Hall. Western extended the advantage to six points on Boesel’s kill at 13-7 before the Broncos scored five straight points to bring the set within 13-12. The frame was eventually tied at 20-20 before a pair of Harper kills allowed the Vikings to pull out the 25-22 victory.

The teams nearly matched each other point for point in the second. The Broncos built a 6-4 lead on Karah Griffiths’ kill before a five-point WWU run, culminating on Davenport’s ace, put the Vikings up 9-6. Cal Poly Pomona rallied to take a two-point advantage when Bosnic’s kill made 16-14, but Western Washington scored eight of the next 10 points and held the 24-19 lead on another Boesel dump. The Broncos rallied to within one at 24-23 on a Bosnic service ace before Phelps put it away for the Vikings.

The third set proved closest of all with neither team taking more than a three-point lead with 17 ties and seven lead changes. Western Washington had its largest lead of three, 6-3, on a Phelps kill while the Broncos held no more than a one-point advantage the entire set. At the first match point at 24-23, an attack error gave the Broncos new life before a Davenport kill and an attack out of bounds sealed the match.