Hornback, Hair Headline GNAC POTW List
WOU's Madison Hornback had 50 kills including the highest single-match total (27) by a GNAC player this season.
WOU's Madison Hornback had 50 kills including the highest single-match total (27) by a GNAC player this season.

Monday, October 30, 2023
by Evan O'Kelly

PORTLAND, Ore. – A 50-kill week for Western Oregon outside hitter Madison Hornback earned the junior her second Great Northwest Athletic Conference Volleyball Offensive Player of the Week award of the season.

The Oregon City, Ore., native started her week with 27 kills – the highest single-match total by any GNAC player this season – in the Wolves’ five-set match against Northwest Nazarene last Thursday. Hornback followed that up with a 23-kill performance against No. 20 Central Washington on Saturday. “I can’t speak more positively as to how Madison’s mindset fueled her performance last week,” said WOU head coach Kaiao Nahale-a. “She is choosing to get better in practice, put in work in the weight room and to spend time watching film. This is such a cool payoff for that hard work to be translated into an incredible individual performance.”


Offensive Player of the Week – Madison Hornback, Western Oregon

Second-career Player of the Week, second this season

Hornback got it done on both sides of the ball, completing a 27-kill, 24-dig double-double in the match against the Nighthawks and a 23-kill, 17-dig double-double against the Wildcats. Thursday’s performance marked the first time in 2023 that a GNAC player reached 20 kills and 20 digs in a match. Hornback’s 6.25 kills per set were far and away the most by any GNAC player last week, and her 5.12 digs per set were third-most by any player in the conference. “Shoutout to her teammates for putting her into this position,” said Nahale-a. “It’s incredible what can happen when these women put their mind to it and put in the work. It is super cool to be her coach and to witness her make the right decisions.”

Also Nominated: Nicole Blue, UAA; Karli Nielson, UAF; Ellie Marble, CWU; Hailey Cheney, NNU; Emily Garten, SMU; Sarah Brachvogel, SPU; Jocelyn Sherman, SFU; Devyn Oestreich, WWU.

Defensive Player of the Week – Hannah Hair, Seattle Pacific

Eighth-career Player of the Week, third this season

Hair once again could not be stopped as she propelled the first-place Falcons to two more victories and a GNAC record of 12-1. Hair led all GNAC players with 19 blocks in SPU’s two wins, and remained as the NCAA Division II leader in blocks per set with 1.73. Hair started her week with 10 blocks in the Falcons’ four-set win over Alaska Anchorage, marking the third time this season she reached double figures in blocks in a single match. She narrowly missed her first double-double of the year in her team’s four-set win over Alaska on Saturday, matching her season high with 11 kills and finishing with nine blocks. In addition to her defensive performance, Hair’s hitting percentage of .484 was the highest by any GNAC player last week.

Also Nominated: Isabel Evans, UAA; Josie Jansen, UAF; Morgan Halady, CWU; Caroline McMahon, NNU; Emmy Hansen, SMU; Macyn Unger, SFU; Emily Vossenkuhl, WWU.


Offensive Player of the Week – Gabriel Silva, Western Oregon

First-career Player of the Week

Helping keep the Wolves alive in the GNAC men’s soccer title chase, Silva led all GNAC players with three goals scored to help his team go 1-0-1. Silva was paramount in WOU’s gritty 2-2 draw against Western Washington last Thursday, notching his second brace of the season including a crucial game-tying goal in the final minute to salvage a point. Silva followed that by scoring 1 of 4 WOU goals in a 4-0 rout of Saint Martin’s last Saturday. The WOU newcomer upped his season goal count to nine, which ranks him third in the conference.

GNAC Insider: WOU senior Enrique Gomez

Also Nominated: Ryushiro Morita, MSUB; Jonathan Cardona, NNU; Connor Tollan, SPU; Devin O’Hea, SFU; Edgar Serrano, WWU.

Defensive Player of the Week – Enrique Gomez, Western Oregon

First-career Player of the Week

Anchoring the WOU defense last week was senior captain Enrique Gomez, who was instrumental in the team earning four points. Gomez helped the Wolves claim the conference’s lone shutout of the week with their 4-0 win over Saint Martin’s, and in total played 170 of 180 minutes across the back line. A mainstay in the WOU lineup, Gomez has started all 14 matches this year and has played all but 20 minutes for the title-hunting Wolves.

Also Nominated: Cam Welty, SPU; Justyn Sandhu, SFU; Mitchell Hutter, WWU.


Offensive Player of the Week – Kate Cartier, Simon Fraser

First-career Player of the Week

The GNAC’s leading scorer from last week’s games, Cartier found the net in both of SFU’s matches including her first-career brace. The two-goal effort came in an important 3-1 win over Saint Martin’s on Thursday, as Cartier delivered a penalty-kick finish and a stellar header goal on a corner kick service. After helping her team claim three points to keep pace in the hunt for a GNAC Championships berth, Cartier struck again on Saturday against Western Oregon. This time she tucked a well-placed, left-footed strike inside the low far post on a 22-yard free-kick attempt. Cartier leads the Red Leafs with five goals scored this season, a figure that ranks third in the conference.

Also Nominated: Casey Park, CWU; Mackenzie Carnell, MSUB; Kat Nyone, SPU; Jenna Efraimson, WOU; Morgan Manalili, WWU.

Defensive Player of the Week – Gracen Crosby, Western Washington

First-career Player of the Week

The Vikings kept their GNAC regular-season title hopes alive with a pair of shutout victories last week, with Crosby at the center of it all. The Georgia State transfer has started 15 of 17 matches while playing the majority of the minutes. Crosby turned in her fourth 90-minute effort of the season in WWU’s 1-0 blanking of Western Oregon last Thursday, and helped the team extend its shutout streak to four matches with Saturday’s 2-0 triumph over Saint Martin’s. Crosby chipped in a pair of assists on the offensive end in the win over the Saints.

“Gracen is playing really well right now and has been a fantastic addition to our team this year,” WWU head coach Travis Connell said on the newcomer. “We lean on her to be a ball-winner in the midfield and to cover our back line, and she did a great job of that last week in our two victories. Anytime you come into a new team you have to learn the players and the tactics. Gracen just gets better and better each week as she becomes more acclimated to what we are doing, and she is definitely playing her best soccer of the season.”

Also Nominated: Mallory Patzer, CWU; Sunny Bennion, MSUB; Jamine Biava, SMU; Landry Schoennauer, SPU; Sarah Loewen, SFU.


Player of the Week – Dana Smith, Simon Fraser

Second-career Player of the Week, second this season

Smith earned her second weekly award of the season, with a pair of outstanding performances in Hawaii. Smith was the GNAC’s top finisher at the Dennis Rose Invitational in a tie for 11th with a two-round score of 1-over-par 145, including a 2-under-par 70 in her opening round. That performance came after a fourth-place finish at the Hawaii Pacific Sharks Shootout earlier in the week, where she notched a two-round score of 3-over-par 143 (70-73). “She had never played on Bermuda grass which they have in Hawaii, and she adapted so well to it,” said SFU head coach Matthew Steinbach. “Her putting was her strength, and it’s hard to believe she is a freshman. She is rugged and determined, and it was very impressive.”

Smith has made par or better in three of her six rounds to kick off her freshman campaign, and leads the GNAC in scoring average at 72.2 strokes per round. “The courses and competition aren’t easier than in junior golf, but having the support of her teammates and being in the SFU culture has freed her up to just go out and play golf,” Steinbach said on Smith’s transition to playing at the collegiate level. “She is playing freely and her skill and talent are all just coming together.”

Also Nominated: Elle McCord, NNU; Kelsie Inouye, SMU; Claire Moon, WWU.


Player of the Week – Nathan Yocam, Western Washington

First-career Player of the Week

Yocam was the top GNAC men’s finisher at the Dennis Rose Invitational, checking in with an even-par 144 (71-73). The tie for 20th place came after he tied for 39th at the Hawaii Pacific Sharks Shootout with a three-round score of 7-over-par 223 (75-75-73). Yocam’s 1-under-par 71 in his first round of the Dennis Rose Invitational marked the third time this season he made par or better in a round. The freshman ranks fourth in the GNAC with a scoring average of 72.6 strokes per round.

Also Nominated: Kyle Erwin, SMU.