GNACSports.com
With Crusaders' Loss, It's A GNAC Volleyball Race Again
Western Washington's Joellee Buckner earned GNAC Offensive Player of the Week honors for 28 kills, 40 digs and 11 blocks in two matches last week.
Western Washington's Joellee Buckner earned GNAC Offensive Player of the Week honors for 28 kills, 40 digs and 11 blocks in two matches last week.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

UNDEFEATED NO MORE: Northwest Nazarene’s tremendous 16-match win streak is over. After battling through two more hard-fought road matches over the weekend, the Crusaders found themselves on the losing end of a five-set match at Central Washington on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats and Crusaders traded sets all evening with both teams hitting well throughout the match. Central Washington jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the fifth set on Shelby Mauritson’s kill, a deficit that the Crusaders would be unable to come back from.

The loss was the first one in a season that had seen NNU win five four-set matches and three five-set affairs. On Thursday, the Crusaders found themselves down 2-1 to Seattle Pacific before charging back to win the fourth set 25-19 before rolling through the fifth set for a 15-8 win. Northwest Nazarene was tied one set apiece with Saint Martin’s to open the match before holding the Saints under 20 points in the third and four sets to take the match.

In their 17 matches, the Crusaders have been doing it all well. Northwest Nazarene is second in the GNAC and is 22nd in Division II with a .241 hitting percentage. The Crusaders also lead the GNAC with 13.33 assists per set.

NET GAINS: GNAC teams continue to pace Division II when it comes to blocks. Central Washington continues to lead Division II with an average with 3.01 blocks per set and is second with 194 total team blocks.  Western Washington is sixth with 2.55 blocks per set while Alaska Anchorage is 41st with 2.14 blocks per set.

Central Washington’s Sabrina Wheelhouse continues to lead Division II individually with an average of 1.74 blocks per set. Northwest Nazarene’s Madi Farrell is fourth with 1.36 blocks per set and Western Washington’s Joslyn Bopray is 14th with 1.28 blocks per set. The Wildcats’ Sarah Joffs is 17th at 1.25 per set and the Vikings’ Michaela Hall is 19th at 1.24 blocks per set.

IN THE POLLS: For the first time this season, Northwest Nazarene leap-frogged Western Washington in the AVCA Division Coaches Top-25. The Crusaders moved up two spots to No. 10 while the Vikings stayed put at No. 11.

Central Washington ranked ninth among teams receiving votes with 10 points while Alaska Anchorage is 11th on the list with seven points.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSIVE
Joellee Buckner, Western Washington
OPP • 5-10 • Senior • Colville, Wash.

Buckner turned in a great overall week for the Vikings, finishing with 28 kills, a .343 hitting percentage, 40 digs and 11 blocks in the two matches on the Alaska road trip. She led WWU with 13 kills and 20 digs in a three-set sweep of Alaska on Thursday and then finished with 15 kills, 20 digs, three aces and nine blocks in Saturday’s four-set win at Alaska Anchorage.

Also Nominated: Sabrina Wheelhouse (Central Washington), Lindsey Dorsey (Concordia), Kendra Bodine (Northwest Nazarene), Rebecca Mitchell (Saint Martin’s), Julia Tays (Simon Fraser), Mariella Vandenkooy (Western Oregon).

DEFENSIVE
Jayme Bratsberg, Simon Fraser
L • 5-9 • Junior • North Vancouver, B.C.

Bratsberg led all GNAC players last week with 6.75 digs per set (54 total) as Simon Fraser split matches on the Alaska road trip. She had 35 digs in a five-set loss at Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and 19 digs to go along with three assists and an ace in Saturday’s three-set sweep of Alaska.

Also Nominated: Bridgette Webb (Central Washington), Anna Dols (Concordia), Shayli Siegfreid (Northwest Nazarene), Kamille Langford (Saint Martin’s), Alisha Bettinson (Western Oregon), Joslyn Bopray (Western Washington).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
LAST WEEK: Oct. 5: Lost to Western Washington, 3-0. Oct. 7: Lost to Simon Fraser, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 12: at Western Oregon, 7 p.m. Oct. 14: at Concordia, 7 p.m.

• Alaska saw its current losing streak run to four matches with a pair of three-set losses to Western Washington and Simon Fraser.

• Sophomore outside hitter Gabby Lerma led the Nanooks offensively with 16 kills in the two matches, topped by a nine-kill performance against Western Washington. Lerma enters the week leading the Nanooks with 151 total kills.

• Sophomore libero Jenna Hickel added 29 digs to her total as she ranks seventh in the GNAC with 4.82 digs per set. She had 16 of those digs in the loss to Western Washington.

• Alaska enters the week second in the GNAC in aces with 1.68 aces per set. Freshman setter Cate Whiting is fifth in the GNAC with 0.38 aces per set while freshman outside hitter Markie Miller is eighth with 0.35 aces per set. Senior outside hitter Maddie Davis led all GNAC players last week with seven aces.

• Alaska enters the week third in the GNAC with a .219 hitting percentage with sophomore middle blocker Kim Wong is fourth individually with a .322 hitting percentage. The Nanooks are fourth in the GNAC in kills with 12.97 per set.

• At 8-9 overall, Alaska has won its most matches in eight seasons. The Nanooks last won more than seven matches in 2009 (12-15).

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
LAST WEEK: Oct. 5: Beat Simon Fraser, 3-2. Oct. 7: Lost to Western Washington, 3-1.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 13: at Concordia, 7 p.m. Oct. 14: at Western Oregon, 7 p.m.

• The Seawolves procured a split at home over the weekend, going five sets for the win over Simon Fraser on Thursday before taking a four-set loss to Western Washington on Saturday.

• With the split, Alaska Anchorage continued to receive seven votes in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top-25.

• Junior outside hitter Leah Swiss led the Seawolves offensively with 30 kills. She finished with eight kills against Simon Fraser and led UAA with 22 kills, 19 digs and four blocks in the loss to Western Washington. Swiss also had 10 aces as she leads the GNAC and is eighth with 0.58 aces per set.

• In addition to Swiss, senior defensive specialist Keala Kaio-Perez had four aces and enters the week second in the GNAC and 33rd in Division II with 0.49 aces per set. The Seawolves are 15th in Division II with two aces per set.

• Junior outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson has 23 kills in the two matches, paced by a team-leading 13 kills in the win over Simon Fraser. Johnson enters the week with 197 kills and averaging 2.86 kills per set.

• The Seawolves are third in the GNAC and 41st in Division II with 2.14 blocks per set. Junior middle blocker Tara Melton is eighth in the GNAC individually with 1.08 blocks per set.

• Alaska Anchorage enters the week with a .183 hitting percentage and is third in the GNAC with a .163 opponent hitting percentage.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: Oct. 5: Lost to Saint Martin’s, 3-2. Oct. 7: Won at Seattle Pacific, 3-1. Oct. 10: Beat Northwest Nazarene, 3-2.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 12: at Montana State Billings, 7 p.m.

• After splitting their matches on their Puget Sound road swing, Central Washington returned home to score a five-set upset of No. 10 Northwest Nazarene on Tuesday.

• Senior middle blocker Sabrina Wheelhouse paced the Wildcats in the victory with 13 kills, a .440 hitting percentage and eight blocks. She finished the three matches with 30 kills and 25 blocks. Wheelhouse enters the week as the Division II leader in blocks, averaging 1.74 per set, and total blocks with 118. She also ranks second in the GNAC with her .345 hitting percentage.

• Junior outside hitter Shelby Mauritson finished with 44 kills in the three matches. She led the Wildcats with 16 kills and 13 digs in the loss at Saint Martin’s and notched 12 kills and 22 digs against Northwest Nazarene. Mauritson is eighth in the GNAC with 3.38 kills per set.

• Sophomore setter/defensive specialist Gabrielle Aihara had double-doubles in all three matches. The efforts included 21 assists and 12 digs against Seattle Pacific and 29 assists and 15 digs against Northwest Nazarene. One of two setters in the Wildcats’ 6-2 system, Aihara is averaging five assists per set while starting setter Niki Cook is 10th in the GNAC with 5.51 assists per set.

• Central Washington continues to lead Division II in blocking, averaging 3.01 blocks per set with 205 total team blocks. The Wildcats also lead the GNAC with a .153 opponent hitting percentage. Offensively, Central Washington is fourth in the GNAC with a .207 hitting percentage and is averaging 12.68 kills per set.

CONCORDIA
LAST WEEK: Oct. 3: Beat Western Oregon, 3-0. Oct. 5: Beat Montana State Billings, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 13: vs. Alaska Anchorage, 7 p.m. Oct. 14: vs. Alaska, 7 p.m.

• Concordia opened a four-match homestand with a pair of three-set sweeps over Western Oregon on Tuesday and Montana State Billings on Thursday.

• Senior opposite Lindsey Dorsey led the Concordia offense with 27 kills and a .396 hitting percentage in the two matches. She finished with 10 kills against Western Oregon and led the Cavaliers with 17 kills and 10 digs against Montana State Billings. Dorsey enters the week eighth in the GNAC with 3.44 kills per set and is third with 0.43 aces per set.

• Senior middle blocker Colby Barnette added 23 kills in the victory, paced by a team-leading 12 kills against Western Oregon. Barnette enters the week sixth in the GNAC with her .306 hitting percentage and 10th with 1.06 blocks per set.

• Senior setter Michele Brown was among the GNAC leaders last week with 12.00 assists per set (72 total), paced by her 39 assists against Montana State Billings. Brown enters the week third in the GNAC and 43rd in Division II with 10.38 assists per set.

• Concordia enters the week third in the GNAC with 12.22 assists per set, 13.06 kills per set and 1.63 aces per set.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
LAST WEEK: Oct. 5: Lost at Concordia, 3-0. Oct. 7: Lost at Western Oregon, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 12: vs. Central Washington, 7 p.m. Oct. 14: vs. Northwest Nazarene, 7 p.m.

• Montana State Billings looks to return to the win column after this after taking a pair of three-set losses last week at the Oregon schools.

• Freshman outside hitter Maddi Vigil led the Yellowjackets’ offense once again, finishing with 24 kills and 4.00 kills per set in the two matches. She led MSUB with 17 kills against Concordia and had seven against Western Oregon. Vigil enters the week leading MSUB with 3.48 kills per set and a .209 hitting percentage.

• Freshman defensive specialist Izela Alvarez added 25 digs to her ledger and enters the week ranked first in the GNAC and 28th in Division II with 5.56 digs per set. Alvarez finished with 10 digs against Concordia and 15 against Western Oregon.

• Montana State Billings enters the week with a .176 hitting percentage with 11.64 kills per set. The Yellowjackets are fourth in the GNAC and 46th in Division II with 17.83 digs per set.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
LAST WEEK: Oct. 5: Won at Seattle Pacific, 3-2. Oct. 7: Won at Saint Martin’s, 3-1. Oct. 10: Lost at Central Washington, 3-2.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 14: at Montana State Billings, 7 p.m.

• After two road wins last week, including a five-set victory at Seattle Pacific on Thursday, Northwest Nazarene saw it’s 16-match win streak end on Tuesday with a five-set loss at Central Washington.

• With the weekend victories, the Crusaders jumped up two more spots to No. 10 in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top-25 and sit one spot ahead of Central Washington.

• Senior outside hitter Kendra Bodine led the Crusaders in the three matches with 59 kills and 51 digs. She led the team with 20 kills and 14 digs at Seattle Pacific and a double-double of 23 kills and 20 digs at Saint Martin’s. Bodine added 16 kills and 17 digs at Central Washington. Bodine enters the week leading the GNAC and ranked 17th in Division II with 4.16 kills per set.

• Senior middle blocker Madi Farrell also tallied 59 kills in the three matches to go along with 13 blocks. She led the Crusaders with 24 kills and a .404 hitting percentage in the loss at Central Washington and posted 20 kills, a .318 hitting percentage and four blocks at Saint Martin’s. Farrell enters the week leading the GNAC and ranked fourth in Division II with a .428 hitting percentage. She is also second in the GNAC and 26th in Division II with 4.11 kills per set and second in the GNAC and fourth in Division II with 1.28 blocks per set.

• Senior setter Hailey Cook finished with 166 assists in the three matches over 14 sets. She amassed double-doubles with 49 assists and 12 digs at SPU, 57 assists and 14 digs at Saint Martin’s and 60 assists and 22 digs at CWU. Cook enters the week leading the GNAC and ninth in Division II with 11.60 assists per set.

• Northwest Nazarene is second in the GNAC and is 22nd in Division II with a .241 hitting percentage. The Crusaders lead the GNAC and are 16th in Division II with 13.33 assists per set while ranking second in the league in opponent hitting percentage (.153), kills per set (13.92) and digs (19.03).

SAINT MARTIN’S
LAST WEEK: Oct. 5: Beat Central Washington, 3-2. Oct. 7: Lost to Northwest Nazarene, 3-1.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 12: at Western Washington, 7 p.m. Oct. 14: at Simon Fraser, 7 p.m.

• Saint Martin’s secured a hard-fought split at home last week, taking a five-set victory over Central Washington on Thursday before pushing Northwest Nazarene to four sets on Saturday.

• Senior outside hitter Rebecca Mitchell paced the Saints’ offense once again with 33 kills in the two matches. She led all players with 19 kills in the loss to Central Washington and had 134 kills against Northwest Nazarene. Mitchell enters the week fifth in the GNAC with 3.61 kills per set.

• Junior outside hitter Rachel Gondrezick had 25 kills in the two matches, including 16 kills against Central Washington and nine against Northwest Nazarene. Gondrezick enters the week averaging 2.70 kills per set.

• Senior setter Nicolette Nesbitt added 61 assists in the two matches and enters the week ranked sixth in the GNAC with 8.85 assists per set. Her week was led by a 34-assist night against Central Washington.

• Freshman middle blocker Kamille Langford finished with 13 blocks in the two matches, eight of which came against Central Washington. Langford is ninth in the GNAC with 1.06 blocks per set.

• Saint Martin’s enters the week with a .165 hitting percentage and 12.13 kills and 16.55 digs per set.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
LAST WEEK: Oct. 5: Lost to Northwest Nazarene, 3-2. Oct. 7: Lost to Central Washington, 3-1.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 12: at Simon Fraser, 7 p.m. Oct. 14: at Western Washington, 7 p.m.

• Seattle Pacific took a pair of tough home losses last week, falling in five sets to Northwest Nazarene before falling in four to Central Washington.

• Sophomore outside hitter Gabby Oddo continues to lead the Seattle Pacific offense, registering 27 kills and 3.00 kills per set in the two matches. She finished with 12 kills against Northwest Nazarene and added a match-high 15 kills against Central Washington. Oddo enters the week ranked ninth in the GNAC with 3.31 kills per set.

• Junior setter Symone Tran had double-doubles in both matches, finishing with 36 assists and 22 digs against Northwest Nazarene and with 45 assists and 17 digs against Central Washington. Tran is fourth in the GNAC with 9.69 assists per set and ranks 43rd in Division II with 659 total assists.

• Sophomore middle blocker Nicole Tchabanov led all GNAC players with 19 blocks and 2.11 blocks per set last week. She finished with 10 blocks against Northwest Nazarene and added nine blocks against Central Washington. Tchabanov enters the week ranked sixth in the GNAC and 29th in Division II with 1.18 blocks per set.

• Seattle Pacific enters the week fourth in the GNAC with 2.04 blocks per set, one of five GNAC teams averaging 2.00 blocks or better per set. The Falcons have a .181 hitting percentage while averaging 12.04 kills per set.

SIMON FRASER
LAST WEEK: Oct. 5: Lost at Alaska Anchorage, 3-2. Oct. 7: Won at Alaska, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 12: vs. Seattle Pacific, 7 p.m. Oct. 14: vs. Saint Martin’s, 7 p.m.

• It was a good road trip for Simon Fraser, which lost to Alaska Anchorage in a hard-fought five-set battle before earning a three-set sweep over Alaska.

• Junior libero Jayme Bratsberg was named the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week after she finished with 54 digs and averaged 6.75 digs per set in last week’s matches. She finished with 35 digs against Alaska Anchorage and added 19 in the victory at Alaska. Bratsberg enters the week second in the GNAC and 31st in Division II with 5.34 digs per set.

• Junior outside hitter Tessa May had another big offensive week, finishing with 30 kills with a .404 hitting percentage in the two matches. She finished with a match-high 16 kills against Alaska Anchorage and led the Clan with 14 kills and four blocks at Alaska. May enters the week third in the GNAC with a .333 hitting percentage and is seventh with 1.08 blocks per set.

• Sophomore outside hitter Betsie de Beer added 28 kills in the two matches. She had 14 kills in both matches and finished with a double-double of 14 kills and 12 digs at Alaska Anchorage.

• As a team, Simon Fraser enters the week ranked third in the GNAC and 31st in Division II with 18.34 digs per set. The Clan is fourth in the GNAC with 12.08 assists and is hitting .195.

WESTERN OREGON
LAST WEEK: Oct. 3: Lost to Concordia, 3-0. Oct. 7: Beat Montana State Billings, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 12: vs. Alaska, 7 p.m. Oct. 14: vs. Alaska Anchorage, 7 p.m.

• After opening the week with a three-set loss to Concordia, Western Oregon snapped a six-match losing streak with a three-set sweep of Montana State Billings.

• Junior opposite Mariella Vandenkooy paced the Wolves offensively with 39 kills and led the GNAC with 6.50 kills per set while amassing a .365 hitting percentage. She finished with 19 kills and hit .410 against Concordia and then added a 20-kill performance against Montana State Billings. Vandenkooy enters the week with a .252 hitting and averaging 2.78 kills per set.

• Junior setter Leila Holt finished the week with 72 assists and tied for the GNAC lead with 12 assists per set. She posted a double-double of 36 assists and 11 digs against Concordia and added 36 assists against Montana State Billings. Holt enters the week eighth in the GNAC with 6.09 assists per set.

• Senior outside hitter Alisha Bettinson enters the week ranked third in the GNAC with 3.84 kills per set (211 total). Junior setter Maddie Mehciz is ninth with 0.34 aces per set.

• As a team, Western Oregon enters the week with a .188 hitting percentage and 12.29 kills per set.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: Oct. 5: Won at Alaska, 3-0. Oct. 7: Won at Alaska Anchorage, 3-1.
THIS WEEK: Oct. 12: vs. Saint Martin’s, 7 p.m. Oct. 14: vs. Seattle Pacific, 7 p.m.

• Western Washington extended its current win streak to six matches with a three-set sweep of Alaska and a four-set win at Alaska Anchorage.

• With the wins, the Vikings retain their No. 11 spot in the latest AVCA Division II Coaches Top-25.

• With the victory over Alaska Anchorage, Western Washington improved to 12-2 all-time inside the Alaska Airlines Center. The Vikings’ last loss in the arena came in the 2016 NCAA West Region Tournament final to the Seawolves.

• Senior opposite Joellee Buckner was named the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week after she averaged four kills per set and 1.57 blocks per set and finished with a .343 hitting percentage in the two matches. She recorded a double-double of 13 kills and 20 digs and fell just short of a triple-double with 15 kills, 20 digs and nine blocks against Alaska Anchorage. Buckner enters the week 10th in the GNAC with a .260 hitting percentage and 11th with 2.93 kills per set.

• Sophomore middle blocker Joslyn Bopray added 14 blocks in the two matches and averaged 2.00 blocks per set. Twelve of those blocks came in the four-set win over Alaska Anchorage. Bopray enters the week third in the GNAC and 14th in Division II with 1.28 blocks per set.

• Junior outside hitter Abby Phelps continues to rank fourth in the GNAC with 3.74 kills per set and 0.40 aces per set. She added 23 kills and four aces to her ledger last week, topped by 12 kills and two aces against Alaska.

• Western Washington leads the GNAC and is 18th in Division II with 14.03 kills per set. The Vikings also lead the GNAC and rank 17th nationally with 19.31 digs per set. Western Washington also enters the week second in the GNAC and 24th in Division II with 12.98 assists per set as well as second in the GNAC and sixth in Division II with 2.55 blocks per set.

Copyright ©2022 Great Northwest Athletic Conference. All Rights Reserved. GNACSports.com