Wildcats Stun Chaminade With Big Fourth-Set Run
Marianna Payne led Central Washington with 14 kills, including two in the clinching 10-point fourth-set win. Photo by Felicia Carrasco.
Marianna Payne led Central Washington with 14 kills, including two in the clinching 10-point fourth-set win. Photo by Felicia Carrasco.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A one-set deficit was not enough to keep Central Washington down as the No. 6 seeded Wildcats rallied to a four-set win over No. 3 seeded Chaminade in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II West Region Volleyball Championships Thursday at Coussoulis Arena.

After being buried in the first set, the Wildcats edged ahead in close second and third sets as the Silverswords hit below .100 in each frame. In the fourth set, Central Washington was ahead 15-13 before going on to win the final 10 points of the match to stun the PacWest champions. The win avenged a five-set loss the Wildcats took to the Silverswords on September 5 at the WWU Invitational.

Freshman outside hitter Marianna Payne led the Wildcats (17-8) with 14 kills with a .480 hitting percentage on 25 attempts. Sophomore setter/outside hitter Tia Andaya registered her GNAC single-season record eighth double-double of the season with 11 kills, 20 assists and 16 digs. She now sits one short of the GNAC career record of nine triple-doubles set by Mindy Swanson of Northwest Nazarene between 2001 and 2003.

Freshman middle blocker Emma Daoud-Hebert had seven blocks as the Wildcats finished with nine on the afternoon.

Ann Rivera led Chaminade (27-6), which entered the match ranked No. 24 in the latest AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll, with 10 kills. Alexia Byrnes registered a double-double of 22 assists and 15 digs.

The victory is just the second in the Wildcats’ run of nine straight West Regional tournament appearances and the first since 2018. With the win, Central Washington will face either No. 2 seeded Western Washington or No. 7 seeded Simon Fraser in the semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m.

The Silverswords hit .387 to roll over the Wildcats in the opening set and allowed CWU just five points off their own serve. The frame was tied 9-9 when Chaminade rolled off a four-point run to go ahead 13-9 on a CWU attack error. The Silverswords extended it to a 20-13 advantage on Kyra McCain’s kill before putting the set on cruise control for the win.

Neither team led by more than three points in a closely contested second set. The Wildcats led 24-21 when Chaminade won three straight rallies and tied it 24-24 on a Brooklen Pe’a kill. Central tightened up for the win, utilizing a kill by freshman outside hitter Kylie Thorne and an attack error to put it away.

The third and fourth sets were won by late rallies by the Wildcats, led by Andaya at the service line. Central trailed 22-19 in the third set when a kill by Andaya ignited a string of six unanswered points for the win, paced by kills by Payne and sophomore outside hitter Ashley Kaufman.

Central Washington trailed 5-2 early in the fourth set before a six-point run, paced by two Payne kills, put the Wildcats up for good at 12-6. Chaminade rallied to within two points, 15-13, on Greta Corti’s kill before an Andaya kill started the match-ending 10-point run. Payne had two kills in the run, Daoud-Hebert had two blocks and Andaya had two aces, including one on the final rally for the victory.