WWU Vikings

Western volleyball exacts its revenge in semifinal sweep

Outside hitter Abby Phelps (center) celebrates with teammates after the Vikings score a point against Cal State San Bernadino in the semifinal match of the NCAA Division II West Regional Friday. With the win, Western advances to the Elite 8 held Dec. 8-10 in Sioux Falls, SD.
Outside hitter Abby Phelps (center) celebrates with teammates after the Vikings score a point against Cal State San Bernadino in the semifinal match of the NCAA Division II West Regional Friday. With the win, Western advances to the Elite 8 held Dec. 8-10 in Sioux Falls, SD.

The third-seeded Western Washington University volleyball team upset No. 2 seed Cal State San Bernardino in a 25-20, 25-22, 26-24 sweep in Friday’s semifinal of the NCAA Division II West Regional in Anchorage, Alaska.

The Vikings (23-7) gained revenge from an early season 3-0 loss to the Coyotes at the D-II West Region Volleyball Showcase on Sept. 16. Western has won 18 of its last 19 matches and will match up with either Northwest Nazarene or Alaska Anchorage in Saturday’s West Regional final.

“We are excited and proud to move on to the next game,” coach Diane Flick-Williams said in a release. “This is right where you want to be and we are proud to represent our conference in an all-GNAC final.”

Sophomore outside hitter Abby Phelps recorded a 12-kill, 23-dig double-double to lead the Vikings. This was Phelps’ Great Northwest Athletic Conference-leading 18th double-double of the season and third in four matches. She also had two service aces to finish with 14 points.

The key to the Viking attack was the setting tandem of Brette Boesel and Kristina Tribley. The two had 19 and 18 assists and set up Phelps and Arielle Turner, who had 10 kills.

“There is no question I think our setters are the MVPs for us tonight,” Flick-Williams said. “Brette and Kristina did a nice job of balancing the offense and putting the ball in a position that got the best swings for our hitters.”

Western led 18-11 in the third set, but the Coyotes roared back with 10 unanswered points to take a 21-18 lead. The set was tied at 24 before CSUSB committed a service error and an attack error to give the Vikings the win.

“Once we finally sided out, we were able to take a deep breath and play the rest of the set point by point,” Flick-Williams said. “You don’t want to go back out there for a fourth set, and we gathered ourselves and did a nice job of coming back.”

Western is 14-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and a perfect 8-0 at the Alaska Airlines Center.

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