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Volleyball Fryed at Home

Chace Davy, Staff Reporter - October 31, 2012

The Wildcats have a knack for five-set matches as of late. The women’s volleyball team experienced their first home loss of the season against Montana State University Billings, three sets to two, followed by another 3-2 loss to reigning Great Northwest Athletic Conference champions Seattle Pacific University.

The Wildcats are now 15-7 overall, 9-4 GNAC, and fall to fourth place in the conference standings. They currently sit two games behind first-place Western Washington.

On Thursday, Central was able to take an early lead against MSUB in the annual “Think Pink” match, and held on to win the first set 27-25. Senior outside hitter Marcy Hjellum had eight of her career-best 24 kills in the first set. Hjellum was a crucial part of the Wildcats’ game plan throughout the match.

The second set began the same as the first. The Wildcats were able to take a small lead, but a 7-2 run by MSUB allowed the Yellowjackets to retake it. MSUB followed their large spree with a 10-2 run, putting the second set out of reach.

Central jumped out with an early lead in the third set, then countered runs for runs with MSUB. The Wildcats went on to win 26-24, leading the match 2-1.

In the fourth set, MSUB proved to be too much for Central. After 15 ties and eight lead changes, the Yellowjackets tied the match with a fourth set, 25-23 victory, bringing the match to a pivotal fifth set. The Wildcats found themselves down in the fifth set for the second straight time, but were unable to repeat the comeback performance they had at Simon Fraser last week, losing 15-10.

The Wildcats entered Saturday night’s game looking for a repeat victory over SPU, though it didn’t work out that way.

In the Falcons 32-30 opening set victory, there were 21 ties and seven lead changes, ended by a kill from Falcon senior outside hitter Cailin Fellows.

The Falcons took a large lead early in the second set and CWU was unable to recover. The Wildcats ended up losing the second by ten points, 25-15.

Going into the third set, head coach Mario Andaya told his team that they needed to play better defense in order to have a chance at coming back.

Central needs to get back to the defensive principles that made it so successful earlier in the season.

The Wildcats found themselves in a hole, down 9-5 in the beginning of the third set, but went on a 10-3 scoring run and never looked back.

Stellar defense, as well as kills from almost every player on the team, led to a 25-22 set victory for the Wildcats.

The fourth set was almost a carbon-copy of the previous set; SPU was able to keep it close through the end of the set until CWU pulled ahead 25-17.

Redshirt senior setter Devin Larson attributed the comeback from two sets down to CWU doing the “little things” right.

“When we do the fundamentals right, we are one team, and we build from there,” Larson said. “We felt like we should be there, come out fired up and take it.”

The Wildcats then entered their third consecutive fifth set in three games with momentum in their favor.

Unfortunately for Larson and the rest of the team, things didn’t work according to plan.
SPU immediately leapt out in front and never lost the lead after they took it at 3-2. SPU ended up winning by a final score of 15-9.

The loss is the third in four matches for the Wildcats.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said redshirt freshman outside hitter Rachel Hanses. “You put it all out there on the court, and sometimes the ball doesn’t fall your way.”

Despite the Wildcat losses, winning isn’t the focal point – defense is, according to Andaya.

“We’ve got to think about getting back to work and getting better defensively,” Andaya said.

Getting comfortable with every situation on court is another key step for the team.

“Mainly it just comes down to doing our stuff how we’re taught to,” Hanses said. “When we do that, things run smoothly and everything is great, but sometimes we stray from that.”

Central plays Northwest Nazarene at 7 p.m. in Nicholson Pavilion. The Wildcats beat NNU in five sets the last time they met.

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