Vikings Lead Four GNAC Teams In VB West Regional Field
Western Washington enters the West Regional with a 21-4 overall record and a 6-2 record against teams in the tournament field.
Western Washington enters the West Regional with a 21-4 overall record and a 6-2 record against teams in the tournament field.

Monday, November 22, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS – Four GNAC teams have been selected to participate in the NCAA Division II West Regional Tournament, which will run December 2-4 at Cal State San Bernardino.

Conference champion Western Washington earned the No. 2 seed and will open with a rematch against No. 7 seed Simon Fraser on Thursday, December 2. It will be the third meeting between the Vikings and SFU and the second time in as many matches. The two teams ended the regular season against each other on Saturday with WWU winning in four sets.

Central Washington received the No. 6 seed and will match up against No. 3 seed and PacWest champion Chaminade. Alaska Anchorage made the tournament as the No. 8 seed and will face the hosts and defending national champions.

The other first-round match will pair two CCAA rivals in No. 4 seed Cal Poly Pomona and No. 5 seed Cal State LA.

The four-time conference champions, Western Washington is making its ninth straight NCAA tournament appearance after finishing the regular season with a 21-4 record and a 15-1 conference mark. Western Washington leads the GNAC in hitting percentage (.240), assists per set (12.55) and blocks (2.73) while ranking second in opponent hitting percentage (.160) and kills (13.41 per set). The Vikings rank third in Division II in blocks per set.

The Vikings are 6-2 against teams in the regional field. The losses were a five-set thriller to Cal State San Bernardino on September 11 and a four-set loss to Central Washington on September 23. Since the CWU loss, Western Washington has won 16 straight matches.

Central Washington is also making its ninth straight tournament appearance after tying with Alaska Anchorage for second in the GNAC at 12-6 (16-8 overall). The Wildcats enter the West Regional averaging 12.37 kills and 14.40 digs per set with a .214 hitting percentage that ranks third in the conference. The team’s 2.34 blocks per set ranks 20th in Division II.

The Wildcats are 3-4 against teams in the regional. The Wildcats handed Western Washington its last loss in four sets on September 23 and were the only GNAC team to beat the Vikings this season. The other three wins came in in three sets over Simon Fraser on September 25 and Alaska Anchorage on November 6.

Despite finishing behind Alaska Anchorage in the standings, Simon Fraser earned the No. 7 seed thanks to a 17-8 overall record and is making its first regionals appearance since 2016. Finishing tied for third in the GNAC at 11-7, SFU leads the conference and ranks 38th in Division II with 13.47 kills per set and ranks second in the conference with 12.54 assists per set.

Simon Fraser is 4-4 against the regional field. It opened the season by scoring a huge four-set win over Cal State San Bernardino on September and remains the only West Region team to have beat the Coyotes this season. The other wins include a five-set win over Cal State LA on September 3, a three-set win over Central Washington on October 21 and a four-set win at Alaska Anchorage on October 28.

Alaska Anchorage is in its sixth regional tournament in the last seven years. The Seawolves rallied in the final week of the regular season to finish tied with Central Washington for second in the GNAC at 12-6 and 19-11 overall. The Seawolves are averaging 12.69 kills and 14.78 digs per set and lead the conference with a .157 opponent hitting percentage.

Alaska Anchorage is 3-6 against teams in the tournament. The Seawolves collected a four-set win over Chaminade on August 29, a four-set win over Simon Fraser on October 2 and a five-set win over Central Washington on October 7.