CWU volleyball qualifies for playoffs

Split final home games; marks ninth straight playoff appearance

Isaiah Salevao, Staff Reporter

The CWU volleyball team will be returning to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division II west regional tournament for the ninth straight season. CWU (16-8) was placed into the sixth seed in the tournament and will take on the third seed Chaminade University on Dec. 2  in San Bernardino, California. This comes after splitting their two matches over last weekend. 

Going into their first game on Thursday, Nov. 18, the CWU volleyball team hosted the Seattle Pacific University (SPU) Falcons. The Wildcats came into the weekend with a perfect 10-0 record at home this season. 

SPU came ready to play, starting the first set with a 9-0 lead. Fifth year senior middle blocker, Leanna Shymanski, would give the Wildcats their first point of the match with a hard spike to the middle of the court. Sophomores Tia Andaya and Ashley Kaufman kept the Wildcats in the first set with a pair of spikes, but the Falcons were able to extend their lead to 19-12. 

SPU would make back-to-back mistakes with an interference call and hitting the ball out of bounds bringing the score to 20-14. Kaufman would get the CWU’s last point of the set with a hard spike that would ricochet off a Falcon player, but the Falcons would hold on to win 25-15.

Going into set two the Falcons were able to start off with the lead, but with a few mistakes by the Falcons and a spike by freshman outside hitter, Kylie Thorne, CWU was able to tie the score 6-6. 

SPU would continue to make mistakes allowing CWU to take a 11-7 lead. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Emma Daoud-Hebert would meet the Falcons player at the top of the net blocking her spike to give CWU a 12-7 lead. A spike by Kaufman and a tip by freshman libero Hannah Stires, would extend the CWU lead to 14-11. 

SPU was able to comeback and tie the score 17-17, the match turned into a back and forth between the two teams. CWU would tie the score at  19 and again at 22  with a spike by freshman outside hitter Marianna Payne, but the Falcons would go on to win the second match 25-22.

SPU would come back out into set three no differently and take a 4-0 lead early. CWU led by Payne would be able to close the lead to 4-3, but with a lot of mistakes made by CWU the Falcons would take a 18-10 lead.  

Big plays by Kaufman and Thorne would get the Wildcats back into the game and would tie the score 24-24, but SPU was able to put together a pair of scores and win set three 26-24, sweeping CWU 3-0. 

The Montana State University Billings (MSUB) Yellowjackets visited CWU on Saturday, Nov. 20, for CWU’s final home game of the season as well as senior night. Seniors Shymanski and Kylee Yamashita ended their last regular season as a Wildcat with a win. CWU and MSUB went back and forth to open the first set, MSU Billings finally got the overhand and took a 10-8 lead. 

Kaufman and Andaya had huge back-to-back spikes to get CWU going. Shymanski ended the match with a spike, winning set one 25-17. 

Set two began the same way, both teams trading scores back and forth until CWU went ona four-point run and took a 14-10 lead. The Yellowjackets fought back and got back into the game but it was Thorne who brought it to an end to get the winning point, CWU would go on to take set two 25-19. 

CWU began set three with a few struggles which would allow the Yellowjackets to take a 9-5 lead. MSUB continued to outplay CWU for the rest of the match and would take the win 25-16. 

Set four was a fight from start to finish. MSUB was able to take the lead to 14-12, but CWU would fight back to close the score to a one-point game 20-19. MSUB was able to extend their lead to 24-21, but CWU continued to fight back. 

Thorne and Shymanski shared consecutive spikes to allow CWU to take the lead at 25-24. It would be senior Shymanski to score the game winning point to get CWU the win for set four. 

The Wildcats ended their regular season second in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with a 16-8 overall record and 11-1 at home.