2 Wins Earn SFU GNAC Team of the Week Award
Simon Fraser volleyball is in fourth place in the GNAC standings with an 8-4 conference record. (Photo by Ron Hole)
Simon Fraser volleyball is in fourth place in the GNAC standings with an 8-4 conference record. (Photo by Ron Hole)

Monday, October 27, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. - Simon Fraser volleyball won a five-set thriller and swept another GNAC foe last week to earn the Red Lion GNAC Team of the Week award.

The Clan, 8-4 in conference play and 14-6 overall, moved into fourth in the GNAC standings. SFU has already surpassed its win total from last season and is guaranteed to have its first winning season since it joined the GNAC in 2010.

“I’ve had more time to be with the team,” head coach Gina Schmidt said of what has changed since her first season with the Clan. “No one graduated from last year’s team so I’ve had a full season to implement my coaching style and help build team chemistry.”

On Thursday, Simon Fraser hosted Seattle Pacific in what turned out to be one of the closer matches in the GNAC all season.

After taking the first set 25-17, the Clan was hit with SPU’s best set of the night striking 15 kills while having a .303 attack percentage as the Falcons took the set 25-19.

Simon Fraser answered with another 25-17 winner in the third set. After taking a 21-14 lead in the fourth, SPU stormed back to claim the set 26-24.

The Clan again took another lead halfway through the fifth set, winning 13-9 at one point, before the Falcons tied the set at 13.

“Fifth sets show a lot of character,” Schmidt said. “We were in control for a lot of the match, but SPU pushed back so we just had to regroup and focus on what we were doing successful in the earlier sets.”

Senior Kelsey Robinson hit a spike that bounced off an SPU defender to claim the lead and outside hitter Christine Howlett closed out the victory with a kill for the 16-14 victory.

On Saturday, Simon Fraser started its match with Montana State Billings by taking a close set 26-24. As the match wore on the Clan became stronger as they had 14 kills in the second for the 25-17 win and closed out the match with a .393 hitting percentage in the third set which the Clan won 25-12.  

The Clan had 112 kills on 108 assists over the past two matches. Robinson led the Clan with 26 kills points while fellow seniors Madeline Hait and Amanda Renkema added 23 and 21, respectively.

“I credit a lot to the seniors,” Schmidt said. “Three of our four seniors are fifth-year seniors so they have been through and seen a lot. They have been able to keep a cool head through the pressure situations.”

SFU has a chance to prove it belongs in the upper tier of the GNAC this week as it travels to No. 26 Central Washington on Thursday and No. 15 Northwest Nazarene Saturday.