Volleyball: WOU Earns Team of the Week Award
Western Oregon came together last week for a pair of key wins.
Western Oregon came together last week for a pair of key wins.

Monday, October 29, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore. - After a bit of a “bump in the road” in which it lost three of four contests, Western Oregon University’s volleyball team has rebounded to win its last five matches and put itself right in the middle of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball race.

The Wolves swept two matches last week with nationally 12th-ranked Western Washington and Simon Fraser, respectively.  That performance has earned WOU the GNAC Team of the Week award for Oct. 22-28.

“We have been playing very well of late,” WOU coach Brad Saindon said.  “We finally have all our parts working ... I believe that we are playing as well as anyone right now.”

Last week’s two wins enabled the Wolves to move within 1 ½ matches of Western Washington in the conference standings.  The Vikings (18-3 overall), who fell to 17th in the national poll in this week’s rankings, still lead the conference with an 11-2 record, but WOU (16-5 overall) is just one match back in the loss column and is tied for second place with Alaska Anchorage.  Both teams have 9-3 conference records.

Western Washington came into last Thursday’s contest at the New P.E. Building in Monmouth unbeaten in seven straight contests and with a 21-set winning streak.

But outside hitter Danielle Reese had team highs of 17 kills and 15 digs and hit at a .395 pace to power the Wolves to a 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 victory.

“We were excellent defensively and Danielle (Reese) had an absolutely amazing match,” Saindon, who has a 74-44 record in five seasons at WOU, said following the contest.

“It’s been awhile since we beat Western Washington so to see our team come out and play the way they did was fantastic.”

WOU then followed Thursday’s win with a 25-22, 25-15, 25-13 home sweep of Simon Fraser Saturday.

Reese (5-9, Sr., Gig Harbor, WA) had 13 kills and 15 digs in that victory to finish the week with 30 kills and 30 digs to earn GNAC Red Lion Offensive Player of the Week honors.  She hit .419 in the two matches converting on 30 of 62 kills, committing just four errors.

In the process she became just the 30th player in GNAC history to record 1,000 kills, finishing the week with 1,019.

On the season, Reese ranks second in the GNAC in points, averaging 4.36 per set and is fourth in kills, averaging 3.65.  She also ranks second in aces with 29 in 72 sets.

Wolf middle blocker Becky Blees (5-10, Jr., Portland, OR – Madison) is the GNAC leader in blocks averaging 1.30 per game.  Other key contributors have included outside hitter Samantha Ward (6-1, Sr., Salem, OR – West Salem, 2.84 kills per set), middle blocker Krissi Kemper (5-11, Jr., Prineville, OR – Crook County, 2.48 per set) and Blees (1.72).  Kemper is hitting for a .404 percentage, which is the best in the GNAC.

WOU heads on the road this week risking its win streak with road contests at Montana State Billings Thursday and Seattle Pacific Saturday before concluding its season with three of its final four matches at home.

“It was a great week and we need to keep the momentum going forward,” Saindon said.

Western Washington Slips to 17th in AVCA National Poll

Western Washington slipped five positions and is ranked 17th in this week's AVCA Division II national poll after splitting two matches last week, losing 3-0 to Western Oregon before rebounding to beat Saint Martin's 3-1.

Central Washington, meanwhile, fell out of the Top 25 after dropping a pair of 3-2 home matches.  The Wildcats, ranked 22nd last week, are still among "others receiving votes" and are ranked 28th overall.

In this week's NCAA Division II national statistical report, Western Washington setter Laurie Yearout is the highest ranked GNAC player.  She is fourth in assists averaging 12.13 per game.

Other players in the Top 10 include Viking libero Samantha Hutchinson, sixth in digs (6.26); Western Washington outside hitter Marlayna Geary, eighth in both points (4.95) and kills (4.32); Montana State Billings libero Erin Compton, eighth in digs (5.92); and Western Oregon middle blocker Krissi Kemper, eighth in hitting percentage (.404).

In team categories, Western Washington ranks seventh in hitting percentage (.272) and ninth in assists (13.42). 

NCAA NATIONAL STATISTICS (Through Oct. 28): Team (Top 30): Assists – 9. Western Washington 13.42.  Blocks – 13.  Western Oregon 2.44.  Hitting PCT. – 7. Western Washington .272; 26. Western Oregon .246.  Kills – 15. Western Washington 14.03.  Individuals (Top 30): Assists – 4. Laurie Yearout, WWU, 12.13; 19. Kimya Jafroudi, UAA, 10.91; 26. Shelby Swanson, SPU, 10.57.  Blocks – 12. Becky Blees, WOU, 1.30. Digs – 6. Samantha Hutchinson, WWU, 6.26; 8. Erin Compton, MSUB, 5.92.  Hitting PCT. – 8. Krissi Kemper, WOU, .404; 23. Kayla Erickson, WWU, .361; 24. Erin Smith, CWU, .361.  Kills – 8. Marlayna Geary, WWU, 4.32; 22. Cailin Fellows, SPU, 3.95. Points – 8. Marlayna Geary, WWU, 4.95; 29. Danielle Reese, WOU, 4.36.

GNAC Players of the Week