Coyotes Shock Vikings To Win Volleyball West Regional
With the loss, Western Washington ends its season with a 27-4 record. It was the Vikings' third straight appearance in the championship match. Photo by Conner Schuh.
With the loss, Western Washington ends its season with a 27-4 record. It was the Vikings' third straight appearance in the championship match. Photo by Conner Schuh.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – An impressive season for Western Washington came to an abrupt halt Saturday as the No. 2 seeded Vikings were swept by No. 4 seed Cal State San Bernardino in the championship match of the NCAA West Region Volleyball Tournament, 25-22, 25-19, 29-27, at Van Dyne Gym.

The Vikings led in both the first and third sets, but could not hold on against the Coyotes, who had upset No. 1 ranked Cal Baptist the night before. Western Washington saw it’s 20-match win streak snapped and its season end with a 27-4 overall record.

For the third straight night, junior outside hitter Abby Phelps led the Vikings with a double-double of 14 kills and 12 digs. Senior outside hitter Arielle Turner added 13 kills while junior setter Brette Boesel added 34 assists. Phelps and Boesel were named to the All-Tournament Team as was junior libero Aubrey Buckner.

Lauren Nicholson, the D2CCA West Region Player of the Year, led Cal State San Bernardino (24-7) with a double-double of 21 kills and 10 digs. Alexis Cardoza added 12 kills while Lydia Morohunfola finished with 10 kills.

In addition to the three Western Washington players, Northwest Nazarene’s Madi Farrell and Kendra Bodine were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Western Washington held the early lead in the first set, going ahead 11-7 on a block by Buckner and Joslyn Bopray. A Coyotes’ timeout appeared to turn the tide, though, with Morohunfola tying the frame at 13-13 in the second point of a seven-point run that ended when Amy Armstong’s kill made it 18-13. The Vikings closed back to within two points on five occasions, the last on a Joellee Buckner kill that made it 24-22 before a WWU attack closed it out 25-22 in favor on the Coyotes.

It was Cal State San Bernardino that took the early lead in the second set, jumping ahead 9-4 on a Western Washington attack error. The Vikings battled back to take the 11-10 advantage on a Hall kill, but the Coyotes took the advantage away on the next rally and never trailed again. They eventually used a four-point run, three on Cardoza kills, to open up a 17-13 lead and never allowed the Vikings closer than two points the rest of the way. San Bernardino closed with another four-point run, with Cardoza slamming home the 25-19 win.

Western Washington dominated the first two-thirds of the third set. The Vikings took an 8-3 lead in the third set on Turner’s kill, extended the advantage to seven points at 13-6 on a Buckner kill and eventually built a nine-point advantage, 20-11, on a San Bernardino attack error. The Coyotes responded with a nine-point run, collecting three kills from Cardoza including the kill that ended the run that brought CSUSB back within one point at 21-20.

The Vikings held off a further surge and went ahead 24-22 on Joslyn Bopray’s kill, only to watch Cardoza come up with a kill and a service ace to tie it at 24-24. The teams traded the next three points and the Vikings appeared to pull ahead 28-27 on a CSUSB attack error, only to have the call overturned in favor of Coyotes. After a lengthy discussion and delay, Lauren Nicholson stepped up to deliver the match-ending kill.