WWU Vikings

Vikings to host 10 “home” matches this fall

Aiming for a school-record fourth straight post-season appearance, the Western Washington University volleyball team will host 10 home matches to highlight its 2015 schedule announced Thursday, June 25.

Nine of those encounters take place at the Whatcom Community College Pavilion, the Vikings’ new home for the next two seasons while Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus is renovated. Their other home match Oct. 22 versus Northwest Nazarene, is slated for Squalicum High School.

WWU, which reached the West Regional first round in 2013 and 2014 after being a semifinalist in 2012, opens its season at the University of Tampa Classic, meeting Wheeling Jesuit and host Tampa on Sept. 4 and facing Minnesota Duluth and Wayne State on Sept. 5.

The Vikings then go to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference/Pacific West Conference Crossover Tournament at Ellensburg, meeting Dixie State and Fresno Pacific on Sept. 10, BYU Hawaii on Sept. 11 and Point Loma on Sept. 12. Dixie State reached the West Regional final last fall.

WWU, which returns two starters and six letter winners from last year’s 21-7 team (third straight 20-win season), plays its Whatcom CC matches against Saint Martin’s on Sept. 17, Seattle Pacific on Sept. 19, Simon Fraser on Sept. 29, Concordia (Ore.) on Oct. 8, Western Oregon on Oct. 10, Central Washington on Oct. 24, Montana State Billings on Oct. 31, Alaska Fairbanks on Nov. 12 and Alaska Anchorage on Nov. 14. All of them begin at 7 p.m.

Completing WWU’s regular-season schedule are GNAC road contests at Central Washington on Sept. 24, Northwest Nazarene on Sept. 26, Montana State Billings on Oct. 1, Alaska Anchorage on Oct. 15, Alaska Fairbanks on Oct. 17, Simon Fraser on Oct. 27, Western Oregon on Nov. 5, Concordia on Nov. 7, Seattle Pacific on Nov. 19 and Saint Martin’s on Nov. 21.

Northwest Nazarene is the defending GNAC champion and was host of the West Regional as the No.1 seed.

WWU head coach Diane Flick, an eight-time GNAC Coach of the Year, is beginning her 16th season and has the most wins of any Viking volleyball coach with 317 (85 losses, .789 winning percentage). She also directed WWU to three straight post-season berths from 2001 to 2003, coached a team that reached the national title match in 2007, and another that was a regional semifinalist in 2010.

Leading the Vikings, who placed third (14-4) in the GNAC and were No.22 in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll, are outside hitter Rachel Roeder (Sr., Sammamish/Issaquah) and opposite-side hitter Jennica McPherson (Sr., Seattle/Kennedy). Roeder, who was a regional all-tourney pick last year, was a first-team GNAC all-star in 2014 as was McPherson in 2013.