Outside hitter Kelsey Moore led a balanced attack with 10 kills as Western Washington University defeated Sonoma State University, 25-20, 25-18, 26-24, in the opening round of the West Regional of the NCAA Division II National Tournament in Laie, Hawaii
The No. 4-seeded Vikings, ranked No. 15 in the Top 25 Poll, improved to 24-3 overall.
WWU advances to the second round against either No. 1 seed and nationally fifth-ranked BYU-Hawaii (21-3) or No.8 seed UC San Diego (20-10).
No. 5 seed Sonoma State completed its season 22-9. Allyson Sather led the Seawolves with a match-high 14 kills.
WWU trailed 11-9 in the opening set, but went on a 6-1 run to take a 15-12 lead and led by at least two points the rest of the frame.
The Vikings took control of the second set quickly, jumping to a 6-0 lead. The Seawolves never got closer than four points after that.
"I was really excited about how we started the match," WWU coach Diane Flick said in a news release. "It would be easy to be nervous and tentative, but we came out really aggressive. I thought we set a really good tone for ourselves in the first two sets."
The final set was close throughout, with the score tied 11 times. WWU had two match points at 24-22, only to have Sonoma State battle back to tie the score before kills by Kayla Erickson and Marlayna Geary finally put the match away.
The Vikings were brilliant defensively at the net, holding Sonoma State to just .088 attack efficiency and notching 13 blocks to just one for the Seawolves. Erickson and Emily Boerger each had six blocks.
"Emily Boerger had the best blocking match I've seen her play," said Flick. "She was a big force at the net.
Four Vikings had between four and six kills. Flick gave credit to setter Laurie Yearout for that balance.
"Laurie had a great match," Flick said. "No particular person had great numbers, but they got kills at the right times because Laurie did a great job of distributing the offense."