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A Volleyball Title Showdown Is Upcoming In Carver
Western Washington has won 16 straight matches and has not lost since Sept. 16. Their last loss was at Northwest Nazarene in four sets.
Western Washington has won 16 straight matches and has not lost since Sept. 16. Their last loss was at Northwest Nazarene in four sets.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

TITLE SHOWDOWN IN BELLINGHAM: The two top teams from start to finish this season in the GNAC will play a high-stakes match in Bellingham on Thursday.

Western Washington will host Northwest Nazarene in the team’s second meeting of the season. The two teams have not played since the second GNAC match of the season, one that the Nighthawks won in four sets. It also happens to be the last time that the Vikings lost.

With a win over NNU on Thursday, Western Washington will claim the GNAC championship outright, its first since 2013, and the league automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division II National Tournament. A win by the Nighthawks leaves the door open. Should the two teams tie at the top of the standings, the Nighthawks and Vikings would be co-champions with NNU claiming the NCAA automatic berth.

Western Washington has done nothing but improve over the last 16 matches. The Vikings enter the week leading the league in kills and digs and are second in hitting percentage, assists and blocks. They are ranked in the Division II top-30 in each category, topped by a No. 3 ranking with an average of 2.76 blocks per set.

Northwest Nazarene has lost twice since seeing the Vikings back on Sept. 16, but continue to play solid volleyball. The Nighthawks (who have even changed nicknames since last playing the Vikings) lead the GNAC in hitting percentage, opponent hitting percentage and assists and are second in kills. Like WWU, Northwest Nazarene is in the Division II top-30 in each category.

GNAC FLAVOR IN WEST REGION POLL: The GNAC continues to have four teams in the NCAA Division II West Region Rankings. The top three teams did not change position as Northwest Nazarene stayed at No. 2, Western Washington stayed at No. 3 and Central Washington stayed at No. 6. Alaska Anchorage dropped one spot to No. 9. The newest rankings will be released on Wednesday. The poll rankings at the end of the regular season will determine selection to the NCAA Division II National Tournament.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSIVE
Abby Phelps, Western Washington
OH • 5-10 • Junior • Manson, Wash.

Phelps averaged 4.50 kills, 0.38 aces, 4.25 digs and 0.62 blocks per set to lead the Vikings as they extended their current win streak to 16 matches. She finished with a double-double of 19 kills and 15 digs to go along with three blocks in Thursday’s five-set win at Seattle Pacific. Phelps then added a double-double of 17 kills and 19 digs in Saturday’s three-set sweep at Saint Martin’s.

Also Nominated: Maddie Davis (Alaska), Chrisalyn Johnson (Alaska Anchorage), Cami Heninger (Northwest Nazarene), Rebecca Mitchell (Saint Martin’s).

DEFENSIVE
Aubrey Buckner, Western Washington
DS/L • 5-10 • Junior • Colville, Wash.

Buckner averaged 5.12 digs per set in Western Washington’s two victories. She finished with a team-high 28 digs to go with three aces in the Vikings’ five-set win at Seattle Pacific on Thursday and then finished with 13 aces in Saturday’s sweep of Saint Martin’s.

Also Nominated: Leah Swiss (Alaska Anchorage), Izela Alvarez (Montana State Billings), Hannah Neumann (Saint Martin’s).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
LAST WEEK: Nov. 9: Lost to Concordia, 3-1. Nov. 11: beat Alaska, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Nov. 14: at Alaska Anchorage, 7 p.m. Nov. 18: vs. Montana State Billings, 2 p.m.

• After opening the week with a four-set loss to Concordia, Alaska snapped a four-match losing streak with a three-set sweep of Western Oregon.

• Senior outside hitter Maddie Davis led the Nanooks with 27 kills and averaged 3.86 kills per set in the two matches. She shared the match-high with 20 kills against Concordia and had seven kills to go along with 13 digs against Western Oregon. Davis enters the week with 234 kills and leads the team with 1.87 digs per set.

• Senior middle blocker Riley Podowicz led all GNAC players with a .519 hitting percentage in the two matches with 15 kills and nine blocks. She had six kills and five blocks against Concordia and nine kills and four blocks against Western Oregon.

• The Nanooks had 14 aces in the two matches. Freshman outside hitter Lahra Weber had six of those, five of which came in the win over Western Oregon. The Nanooks are second in the GNAC with 1.60 aces per set.

• Alaska enters the week fourth in the GNAC with a .206 hitting percentage with 12.63 kills and 15.10 digs per set.

• At 11 wins, Alaska has its most victories in eight seasons. The Nanooks hope to match or surpass the 12 wins the team had in 2009, which was the last time they finished with double-digit victories.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
LAST WEEK: Nov. 9: Beat Western Oregon, 3-0. Nov. 11: Beat Concordia, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Nov. 14: vs. Alaska, 7 p.m. Nov. 16: vs. Montana State Billings, 7 p.m.

• Alaska Anchorage ran its current win streak to four wins with a pair of three-set sweeps last week over Western Oregon and Concordia.

• The Seawolves enter the week No. 9 in the NCAA West Region Rankings. The updated rankings will be released on Wednesday afternoon.

• Junior outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson led the Seawolves with 27 kills in the two matches. She led the team with a double-double of 12 kills and 15 digs against Western Oregon and then finished with 15 kills, three aces and eight digs against Concordia.

• Junior outside hitter Leah Swiss added 19 kills, 37 digs and three aces in the two matches. She finished with nine kills, three aces and 21 digs against Western Oregon and 10 kills, 16 digs and three blocks against Concordia. Swiss enters the week leading the GNAC and ranked 31st in Division II with 0.47 aces per set. She is also ninth in the GNAC with 3.23 kills per set and seventh with 3.96 points per set.

• Sophomore middle blocker Vanessa Hayes had a .414 hitting percentage in the two matches with 15 kills. Nine of those kills came in the win over Western Oregon.

• Alaska Anchorage enters the week leading the GNAC and ranked 36th in Division II with 1.82 aces per set. The Seawolves have a .188 hitting percentage and are fourth in the GNAC with a .160 opponent hitting percentage. The team averages 12.24 kills and 17.91 digs per set.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: Nov. 7: Lost at Northwest Nazarene, 3-2. Nov. 11: Beat Montana State Billings, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Nov. 16: at Simon Fraser, 7 p.m. Nov. 18: at Western Washington, 7 p.m.

• Central Washington took a split of its matches last week, falling in a five-set heartbreaker at Northwest Nazarene before sweeping Montana State Billings.

• Central Washington continues to receive votes with 18 points in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top-25. The Wildcats were No. 6 in the latest NCAA West Region Rankings, which will be updated on Wednesday.

• Junior outside hitter Shelby Mauritson led CWU offensively once again with 33 kills in the two matches. She finished with a double-double of 16 kills and 21 digs to go with three aces and four blocks at Northwest Nazarene and led all players with 17 kills and 12 digs against MSUB. Mauritson is fifth in the GNAC with 3.69 kills per set and is 12th in Division II with 12.17 attacks per set.

• Senior middle blocker Sabrina Wheelhouse hit .406 in the two matches with 15 kills and eight blocks. Her week was highlighted by 10 kills and seven blocks against Northwest Nazarene. Wheelhouse continues to lead Division II with 1.50 blocks per set and is third with 155 total blocks. Wheelhouse is also fourth in the GNAC with a .323 hitting percentage.

• Senior middle blocker Sarah Joffs added 12 blocks to her total as she now ranks seventh in the GNAC with 1.10 blocks per set. Seven of those blocks came in the loss to Northwest Nazarene.

• Central Washington enters the week leading the GNAC and second in Division II with 2.80 blocks per set and is fifth in Division II with 288 total blocks. The Wildcats are third in the GNAC with a .211 hitting percentage and second with a .150 opponent hitting percentage while averaging 12.75 kills and 17.52 digs per set.

CONCORDIA
LAST WEEK: Nov. 9: Won at Alaska, 3-1. Nov. 11: Lost at Alaska Anchorage, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Nov. 16: vs. Saint Martin’s, 7 p.m. Nov. 18: vs. Seattle Pacific, 7 p.m.

• Concordia secured a split on the Alaska road trip, beating the Nanooks on Thursday before falling in a three-set sweep at Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

• Senior opposite Lindsey Dorsey was the offensive leader once again, finishing with 29 kills in the two matches. She finished with 20 kills against Alaska and added nine kills, nine digs and three blocks at Alaska Anchorage. Dorsey enters the week fourth in the GNAC at 4.20 points per set and sixth with 3.56 kills per set.

• Sophomore outside hitter Allie Spear finished with 36 digs and two aces in the two matches. Both aces came against Alaska Anchorage and finished with 25 digs at Alaska.

• Senior middle blocker Colby Barnette added 23 kills and nine blocks and finished with a .413 hitting percentage in the matches, which was topped by her 13 kills and five blocks at Alaska. Barnette is sixth in the GNAC and 34th in Division II with 1.18 blocks per set.

• Concordia enters the week ranked fourth in the GNAC with 12.83 kills and 12.06 assists per set. The Cavaliers own a .195 hitting percentage and are averaging 16.15 digs and 1.99 blocks per set.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
LAST WEEK: Nov. 9: Lost at Northwest Nazarene, 3-0. Nov. 11: Lost at Central Washington, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Nov. 16: at Alaska Anchorage, 7 p.m. Nov. 18: at Alaska, 2 p.m.

• Montana State Billings opened a four-match season-ending road trip with three-set losses at Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington.

• Freshman outside hitter Bayli Monck finished with 21 kills in the two matches. She had 10 kills against Northwest Nazarene and added 11 kills at Central Washington. She led the team in kills in both matches and is averaging 2.47 kills per set.

• Freshman middle blocker Hali Ehresmann added 17 kills and two aces and finished with a .333 hitting percentage in the two matches. She had nine kills at Central Washington and finished with eight kills and an ace at Northwest Nazarene.

• Freshman libero Izela Alvarez continues to lead the GNAC and ranks 22nd in Division II with 5.69 digs per set. She had 34 digs in last week’s matches, which included 19 digs at Northwest Nazarene.

• Montana State Billings is fourth in the GNAC and 47th in Division II with 18.03 digs per set. The Yellowjackets are also 48th in Division II with 38.40 team attacks per game. Montana State Billings is averaging 11.23 kills per set.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
LAST WEEK: Nov. 7: Beat Central Washington, 3-2. Nov. 9: Beat Montana State Billings, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Nov. 16: at Western Washington, 7 p.m. Nov. 18: at Simon Fraser, 7 p.m.

• Northwest Nazarene set up a big match with Western Washington this week with two wins last week, including a five-set come-from-behind victory over Central Washington.

• With the weekend wins, the Nighthawks held steady at No. 13 in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top-25 Poll and held at No. 2 in the latest NCAA Division II West Region Rankings. The rankings will be updated on Wednesday.

• Senior outside hitter Kendra Bodine led NNU with 37 kills in the two matches. She had a double-double of 16 kills and 18 digs against Central Washington and added 21 kills and eight digs against Montana State Billings. Bodine leads the GNAC and is 13th in Division II with 4.34 kills per set. She is also eighth with a .284 hitting percentage.

• Junior outside hitter Cami Heninger had a career match against Central Washington, finishing with 17 kills, five digs and six blocks. She then added eight kills against Montana State Billings.

• Senior setter Hailey Cook had 93 assists in the two matches, which included 46 in the win over Central Washington. Cook leads the GNAC and is 10th in Division II with 11.60 assists per set.

• Senior middle blocker Madi Farrell added 29 kills and 10 blocks in the two matches, paced by 14 kills and eight blocks against Central Washington. Farrell leads the GNAC and is second in Division II with a .431 hitting percentage.

• The Nighthawks lead the GNAC and is 16th in Division II with a .258 hitting percentage. Northwest Nazarene also leads the GNAC with a .147 opponent hitting percentage. The Nighthawks also leads the GNAC and is 14th in Division II with 13.46 assists per set and is also second in the GNAC and 27th in Division II with 13.99 kills per set.

SAINT MARTIN’S
LAST WEEK: Nov. 9: Beat Simon Fraser, 3-0. Nov. 11: Lost to Western Washington, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Nov. 16: at Concordia, 7 p.m. Nov. 18: at Western Oregon, 7 p.m.

• Saint Martin’s secured a split in its final home weekend, beating Simon Fraser in three sets before losing to Western Washington in three sets.

• Senior outside hitter Rebecca Mitchell led all GNAC players last week with 39 kills in the two matches. She had 21 kills, 14 digs and three blocks in the win over Simon Fraser and added 18 kills and 13 digs against Western Washington. Mitchell is fourth in the GNAC with 3.69 kills per set and sixth with 4.08 points per set.

• Junior outside hitter Rachel Gondrezick added 28 kills and averaged 4.67 kills per set in last week’s matches. She came off the bench for 17 kills and four digs against Simon Fraser and had 11 kills against Western Washington.

• Senior setter Nicolette Nesbitt finished with 72 assists and averaged 12 assists per set in the two matches. She had 43 assists against Simon Fraser and had a double-double of 29 assists and 14 digs against Western Washington. Nesbitt is seventh in the GNAC with 8.37 assists per set.

• Saint Martin’s enters the week with a .156 hitting percentage, averaging 11.97 kills and 16.95 digs per set.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
LAST WEEK: Nov. 9: Lost to Western Washington, 3-2. Nov. 11: Beat Simon Fraser, 3-1.
THIS WEEK: Nov. 16: at Western Oregon, 7 p.m. Nov. 18: at Concordia, 7 p.m.

• It was a good week for the Falcons, who pushed Western Washington to five sets before scoring a four-set win over Simon Fraser to close out the home schedule.

• Sophomore outside hitter Gabby Oddo led the way with 38 kills in the two matches. She had a match-high 21 kills to go along with 10 digs against Western Washington and finished with 17 kills and 18 digs against Simon Fraser. Oddo enters the week ranked eighth in the GNAC with 3.47 kills per set and ninth with 3.83 points per set.

• Senior outside hitter Hannah Lautenbach had 34 kills and 40 digs in the two matches, notching a pair of big double-doubles. She finished with 20 kills and 26 digs to go along with four blocks against Western Washington and finished with 14 kills and 14 digs against Simon Fraser.

• Junior setter Symone Tran had 118 assists in the two matches with two monster double-doubles. She finished with 68 assists and 17 digs against Western Washington and had 50 assists, 26 digs and four blocks against Simon Fraser. Tran is fourth in the GNAC with 10.16 assists per set and is 46th in Division II with 1,077 total assists.

• Junior middle blocker Shaun Crespi added another 11 blocks in the two matches, seven against Western Washington and four against Simon Fraser. She ranks eighth in the GNAC with 1.05 blocks per set.

• Seattle Pacific enters the week ranked third in the GNAC and 50th in Division II with 2.12 blocks per set. The Falcons have a .177 hitting percentage and are averaging 12.42 kills and 17.19 digs per set.

WESTERN OREGON
LAST WEEK: Nov. 9: Lost at Alaska Anchorage, 3-0. Nov. 11: Lost at Alaska, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Nov. 16: vs. Seattle Pacific, 7 p.m. Nov. 18: vs. Saint Martin’s, 7 p.m.

• Western Oregon saw its losing streak extend to 10 matches as it fell in three sets to both Alaska and Alaska Anchorage on its final road trip of the season.

• Senior outside hitter Alisha Bettinson finished with 21 kills in the two matches to lead the Wolves. She opened with 15 kills against Alaska Anchorage and added six kills to go with eight digs at Alaska. Bettinson is seventh in the GNAC with 3.53 kills per set and eighth with 3.89 points per set.

• Freshman outside hitter Sierra Stultz finished with five aces, all against Alaska Anchorage. That was the second most among all GNAC players last week.

• Sophomore defensive specialist Libbie Hoene finished with 30 digs in the two matches, which included 22 digs against Alaska Anchorage.

• Western Oregon enters the final week with a .159 hitting percentage, averaging 11.90 kills and 17.75 digs per set.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
LAST WEEK: Nov. 9: Beat Seattle Pacific, 3-2. Nov. 11: Beat Saint Martin’s, 3-0.
THIS WEEK: Nov. 16: vs. Northwest Nazarene, 7 p.m. Nov. 18: vs. Central Washington, 7 p.m.

• Western Washington extended its win streak to 16 matches, surviving a five-set match at Seattle Pacific before sweeping Saint Martin’s in three sets.

• The Vikings jumped three spots to No. 5 in the latest AVCA Division II Coaches Top-25. It is the 78th consecutive poll, dating back to the 2012 season, where WWU has been ranked. Western Washington also remained No. 3 in the latest NCAA West Region Rankings, which will be updated on Wednesday.

• Junior outside hitter Abby Phelps was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Week after she averaged 4.50 kills, 0.38 aces, 4.25 digs and 0.62 blocks per set in the two matches. She finished with a double-double of 19 kills and 15 digs to go along with three blocks at Seattle Pacific. Phelps then added a double-double of 17 kills and 19 digs at Saint Martin’s. Phelps enters the week second in the GNAC and 27th in Division II with 4.01 kills per set. She is also third in the GNAC and 27th in Division II with 4.61 points per set.

• Junior defensive specialist Aubrey Buckner was named the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week after she averaged 5.12 digs per set. She finished with a team-high 28 digs and three aces in the win at Seattle Pacific on Thursday and then finished with 13 aces at Saint Martin’s. Buckner is fifth in the GNAC with 5.00 digs per set.

• Junior middle blocker Michaela Hall hit .346 in the two matches with 23 kills and eight blocks. Her week was topped by 14 kills and three blocks against Seattle Pacific. Hall is third in the GNAC with a .328 hitting percentage and is fifth in the GNAC and 25th in Division II with 1.22 blocks per set.

• Senior opposite Joellee Buckner also had 23 kills in the two matches, coming alive for a double-double of 16 kills and 25 digs at Seattle Pacific. Buckner is 10th in the GNAC with a .271 hitting percentage.

• Western Washington leads the GNAC and is 21st in Division II with 14.03 kills per set. The Vikings also lead the GNAC and rank sixth in Division II with 19.76 digs per set. The Vikings’ 2.76 blocks per set are second in the GNAC and third in Division II while their .255 hitting percentage is second in the GNAC and 18th in Division II.

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