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Phelps Keys Vikings To Quarterfinals Win Over Seawolves
The 28 kills was a season high for Phelps. The Vikings will face GNAC rival Northwest Nazarene in the semifinals. Photo by Connor Schuh.
The 28 kills was a season high for Phelps. The Vikings will face GNAC rival Northwest Nazarene in the semifinals. Photo by Connor Schuh.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A monster double-double by GNAC Player of the Year Abby Phelps lifted Western Washington to its 19th consecutive victory Thursday as the No. 2 seeded Vikings knocked off No. 7 seed Alaska Anchorage, 26-24, 23-25, 25-18, 25-18, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Volleyball West Regional at Van Dyne Gymnasium.

The junior outside hitter finished with 28 kills and 13 digs and finished with a .347 hitting percentage to lead the Vikings to their third win of the season over the Seawolves.

With the win, the Vikings (26-3) earns a rematch with No. 3 seed Northwest Nazarene, which beat Central Washington in Thursday’s opening quarterfinals match, on Saturday at 5 p.m. (Pacific). The two teams split their meetings during the regular season.

Junior middle blocker Michaela Hall added 12 kills to go along with four blocks while senior outside hitter Arielle Turner finished with 11 kills. Junior setter Brette Boesel had a double-double of 55 assists and 11 digs.

Junior outside hitter Leah Swiss had a double-double of 17 kills and 14 digs to lead Alaska Anchorage (19-11). Junior outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson also had a double-double of 16 kills and 16 digs while freshman setter Casey Davenport also notched a double-double with 45 assists and 16 digs.

The first set provided a close battle with neither team leading by more than two points until Joellee Buckner’s kill put the Vikings ahead 22-19. The Seawolves came back to tie it at 23-23 on Anais Vargas’ kill and then traded points before an attack error and a kill by Phelps gave Western Washington the 26-24 win.

The Vikings bolted out to the early 5-2 lead in the second set, but Alaska Anchorage tied it up at 5-5 on another Vargas kill. The frame was close for the next 10 points until the Seawolves pulled ahead 19-16 on Johnson’s kill. Western Washington came back to tie the set again at 22-22 on another Phelps spike before UAA closed out the 25-23 victory on a pair of Johnson kills.

Western Washington trailed 6-2 in the third set before tying the frame at 6-6 on two Phelps kills and a block by Phelps and Joslyn Bopray. The set was tied 10-10 when a UAA service error ignited a six-point run for the Vikings, which ended when Turner’s kills put WWU up 16-10. Alaska Anchorage never came closer than three points as the Vikings won six of the final eight rallies, with Phelps slamming home the 25-18 victory.

The Vikings never trailed in the fourth set and pulled away from a 4-4 tie by building an 11-7 lead on a block by Buckner and Bopray. The lead extended to six points when Bopray’s put-away made it 16-10 before the Seawolves rattled off four straight points to come within 16-14. Western replied with five straight of their own, two on Phelps kills, to go up 21-14. Alaska Anchorage came no closer than that six-point margin the rest of the way.

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