Simon Fraser Earns Team Of The Week After Historic Win
Simon Fraser upset preseason conference favorite Western Washington in a five-set match.
Simon Fraser upset preseason conference favorite Western Washington in a five-set match.

Monday, September 19, 2016

PORTLAND  – Simon Fraser earned this week’s Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week honor after extending its winning streak to seven matches with two wins this week, including a five-set victory over No. 19 Western Washington in front of the largest crowd in SFU volleyball history.

In front of a capacity crowd, the Clan claimed its first win over its border rival since joining the GNAC. The Clan went on to defeat Montana State Billings in straight sets two days later.

Senior setter Tamara Nipp, who was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week, tallied a season-best 63 assists in the victory over the Vikings and helped the Clan register a hitting percentage over .300 in all three sets that SFU won. Senior outside hitter Emma Jennings recorded a double-double with a team-high 19 kills to go along with 21 digs.

“Tamara has been doing a great job of running our offense since the start of the season,” head coach Gina Schmidt. “We worked a lot on our offensive efficiency during our training this past spring and we have seen the carry-over into the fall. We have a wide variety of attackers on our team and Tamara's experience has allowed her to consistently find the right hitters at the right time.”

After the Clan dropped the fourth set to WWU, Devon May helped SFU get the early advantage in the deciding set with a pair of kills on the first two points. She then put away a kill on the third match point to seal the upset. Her sister Tessa May also had three kills and a block during a 9-1 stretch in the deciding set which gave Simon Fraser a commanding 12-4 lead.

Senior libero Alison McKay led the defensive effort for the Clan with 30 digs, helping to keep the Vikings attack percentage at just .133 over five sets. The Vikings targetted Devon May with their serves, but on 35 attempts, the outside hitter didn’t make a single receiving error. Christine Howlett led Simon Fraser in hitting percentage at .355 with 14 kills and three attack errors on 31 total attempts.

Against Montana State Billings, Simon Fraser won three tightly-contested sets to push the team’s record this year to 9-1 overall and 2-0 in GNAC play. Betsie de Beer notched 10 kills and a .429 hitting percentage in the three-set win over the Yellowjackets, while adding 11 digs and two blocks.

“I think our preseason schedule prepared us well for the start of GNAC play,” Schmidt said. “It's nice to see our girls get rewarded for the hard work they put into practice every day but, obviously, there's still a lot of season still ahead of us and much more we'd like to accomplish.

The Clan is tied for first place in the conference with Alaska Anchorage and the two teams will meet for the first time this year when the Seawolves go to Canada on Saturday. The day before that, Simon Fraser will host Alaska on Friday.