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Volleyball sweeps Alaskan teams in final two regular season matches

Sarah Ruiz, Staff Reporter - November 20, 2012

The Central Washington University volleyball team was able to beat the cold front of Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Anchorage in its final two matches of the season.

Both matches added to the Wildcats winning streak, which currently stands at six.

Both matches were sweeps. The set scores were 25-13, 26-24 and 25-17 against Fairbanks. When playing against Anchorage, the Wildcats managed set scores of 25-13, 25-21 and 25-16.

In the first match against Fairbanks, Central had 42 kills, with senior outside hitter Marcy Hjellum leading with a total of 13. The first set had the Wildcats leading in points, with Hjellum and redshirt freshman middle blocker Kaitlin Quirk scoring points in a play in which the two blocked a hit from Fairbanks to tip the ball over the net. The final score for the first set was 25-13.

“I thought offensively. Dev [senior setter Devin Larson] did a good job of seeing where we needed to score,” said head coach Mario Andaya. “Our hitters did a good job of being affective and using their athleticism against Fairbanks. But I thought we did a great job and kept Fairbanks off balance.”

The second set of the game against Fairbanks proved a harder fight as Fairbanks kept it close. The set went past match point with a final score of 26-24. It was unclear if Fairbanks or Central would take the match point. The Wildcats were able to take the set after the ball was saved out of bounds that resulted in a long volley which led to a set-up that allowed for redshirt freshman outside hitter Rachel Hanses to send a kill over the net and finish the set.

As the third set started, the Wildcats seemed to find a rhythm and managed to take a lead around their 18th point. From there, the Wildcats kept Fairbanks at 14 points while they managed to reach 21 points before Fairbanks reached their 15th point. Redshirt junior outside hitter Emmy Dolan stepped up to add even more kills for Central. A set-up for Dolan had many spectators awaiting her kill, some whispering “watch this,” as she spiked the ball over the net.

Dolan had three kills alone in the third set with a total of nine for the match as well.

“She really stepped up and gave our offense a lot more options, and helped make our offense a lot more unpredictable,” Hjellum said.

Taking the court in their final match to the sounds of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck,” the Wildcats prepped for their regular season finale Saturday night against University of Alaska in Anchorage. Before the game started, the three seniors, Larson, Hjellum and outside hitter Sabrina Schwindler were recognized before the game began.

The first set of the match against Anchorage proved to be a similar match to Thursday’s set, with an exact same score of 25-13. Hjellum came out ready to pounce, with six kills in the first set alone. In a team effort that helped to show Hjellum’s defensive skills, Hjellum and Quirk blocked a shot from Anchorage to tip the ball over the net for another kill.

By the second set the game took on a familiar note, as Anchorage came back to play and make a run against the Wildcats. The turning point in the set came around Central’s 17th point when Schwindler sent a kill over the net after a teammate had resumed control of a high-flying ball. The set ended with a score of 25-21. Schwindler credited Anchorage’s second set fight to Central losing focus and Anchorage’s hitters taking advantage of the opportunity to put points on the board.

The third set proved Hjellum was ready to close her career with a victory as she put up a total of 15 kills for the entire match, five in the third set alone. Central’s defense moved quickly in response to shots from Anchorage’s offense, and managed to dig several of Anchorage’s attacks.

Saying farewell to the regular season, the Wildcats wait to hear about playoffs and regionals. For the seniors of the team, ending the regular season on a six-game win streak has been the perfect way their careers.

“I love [playing here],” Schwindler said. “I love the girls, and the coaches are great. I am so happy I transferred here. This has been the greatest experience of my life.”

The coaching staff had much to say about the talents of the team this year, especially how the upper and lower classman came together for a rewarding season.

“I think we’ve grown together a squad,” Andaya said. “We’ve had a lot of young members on the team that have matured. It’s nice to see them contributing. We’ve had a lot of first time players and lot of first time starts. I think they’ve been seasoned throughout the year and we’ve come together and matured collectively throughout the year.”

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