WWU Vikings

WWU edges Point Loma to close out GNAC/Pac West tourney

All-America libero Samantha Hutchinson had 41 digs, four shy of her career high, as nationally ranked Western Washington University needed five sets to defeat Point Loma Nazarene University, 19-25, 25-20, 12-25, 25-17, 15-13, in final-day action Saturday at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference/Pacific West Conference Crossover Volleyball Tournament held at Van Dyne Gym.

The Vikings, rated No. 9 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll, improved to 7-2 overall and finished 3-1 in tourney play.

Point Loma fell to 3-8 with its fourth straight loss.

Outside hitter Rachel Roeder had a team-high 19 kills for WWU, which rallied after trailing two sets to one. Kelsey Moore contributed 11 kills and tied for match-high honors with six blocks, and Kayla Erickson had 10 kills and five blocks.

PLNU had two players post double-doubles. Heather Leavitt had a match-best 21 kills and 19 digs and Brianna Vieth had 11 kills and 22 digs. Alyssa Dwyer added 16 kills and six blocks for the Seawolves.

WWU tied the match at 2-2 by finishing the fourth set with a 10-3 run after leading by just one point, 15-14. Roeder had three kills during that stretch.

The decisive fifth set was tied at 12-12 before the Vikings took three of the final four points, Kayla Erickson ending the match with a kill.

WWU, which has won Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships in each of the last two years, opens conference play with three home matches at Sam Carver Gymnasium, The Vikings face Alaska Anchorage on Tuesday (7 p.m.), Sept. 16; Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday (7 p.m.), Sept. 18; and Simon Fraser on Saturday (7 p.m.), Sept. 20.

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