SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The Western Washington volleyball team went into the NCAA Division II West Region quarterfinal with the benefit of having played its opponent before, granted it was very early in the season.
Unfortunately for the Vikings this result was the same as the first and this match wasn't as competitive as fourth-seeded Sonoma State rolled to a 25-19, 25-18, 25-16 victory on Thursday, Dec. 5, at Cal State San Bernardino.
The Vikings (23-4), who had finished first in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, hit just .065 for the match and were outplayed in every facet.
"They're a very scrappy team and they have a lot of weapons," Vikings coach Diane Flick said. "You have to be very on point against a team like that and tonight we were not. That was not indicative of how we can play and the season we had."
The first two games were not close. The Seawolves surged out to a 12-7 lead in the opener and never looked back, wrapping it up on a winner by the CCAA Player of the Year Caylie Seitz.
The second was equally lopsided as Sonoma jumped out to a 19-9 lead, securing that one and a 2-0 lead on a netted return of serve.
The third game was a bit better as the teams were even at 10. But the Seawolves then got rolling, chalking up 11 of the next 13 points. A kill by Madelyn Densberger finished off the game and the match.
"Having played them before we knew what we needed to do," WWU junior middle blocker Kayla Erickson said. "We just didn't execute. Maybe it's regional and it got us a little freaked out. It was disappointing to not play better."
Sonoma State (26-5), which tied for second in the CCAA but was the only conference team to beat top seeded and perennial national qualifier Cal State San Bernardino, was led by Seitz with 13 kills. Densberger and Regan Richert tallied 11 and 10 respectively.
Western didn't have a player in double figures. Erickson had a team-high eight kills. Junior setter Taylor Dillard managed 26 assists and junior libero Samantha Hutchinson 21 digs. Senior middle blocker Emily Boerger had six block assists.
Sonoma's versatility impressed the Vikings.
"I call them the team of 1,000 paper cuts. They can beat you with a lot of people a lot of different ways," Flick added.
Both are young teams with Boerger being the lone senior for Western. Sonoma has just three.