By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Women’s Volleyball: Wildcats facing two tough opponents on the road, Simon Fraser and No. 11 Western Washington

BY MAC CLARK, Staff Reporter

After two weeks of Great Northwest Athletic Conference play, the Central Volleyball team (6-6 overall, 2-2 GNAC) finds themselves in the middle of the pack, tied for fifth place with Seattle Pacific.

A successful trip up north could move the Wildcats up in the GNAC standings.  Their trip will begin against Simon Fraser then finish up against no. 11 ranked Western Washington.

“We have to be in Vancouver first, said head coach Mario Andaya. “But we have to make sure we are grounded and take care of Simon Fraser with our best effort and go from there.”

Simon Fraser is the biggest question mark in the league, according to Andaya. The Clan hired a new coach this fall, Gina Schmidt, a former assistant at Montana. The Clan also did not leave Canada for  any non-conference matches.

Their first trip to the states resulted in two losses to GNAC competitors Seattle Pacific and Montana State-Billings.

“When we play together,” Senior Emmy Dolan said, “We are dangerous.”

Central finished with a .263 hitting percentage, on Saturday.

Playing together was very evident statically.

Four Central hitters had at least 5 kills while three Central defenders had at least 11 digs.

“We have some things to keep working on,” Andaya said. “We have a lot of personnel that we are trying out right now so we have few days ahead of us to prepare for Simon Fraser.”

Last year the Wildcats were taken to five sets in Canada and swept the Clan at home.

Winning up there is always tough according to Dolan. She reiterated that they cannot overlook Simon Fraser.

The last time Central Volleyball beat Western Washington in Bellingham was September 17th, 2005.

Ending that streak has been goal for many seniors and has been a goal for Dolan since her freshman year.

“Winning in Bellingham would be huge for me and the team,” Dolan said. “We just need to play together and we will be fine.”

Last year the Wildcats spilt with the Vikings, winning in Ellensburg while being swept in straight sets in Bellingham.

The loss at Western had dire effects on the Wildcat offense, losing redshirt sophomore Catie Fry to a knee injury for the entire season.

“It would be big to win up in Bellingham,” Fry said, “but we need to have ball control and extend our rallies.”

Western is currently tied  atop the GNAC at 2-0, 9-1 overall.  The Vikings are ranked 11th in the nation. They are sixth in nation in kills per set, averaging 14.81, and are second in the nation in hitting percentage at .333.

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