BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Nine home matches and two tournaments highlight the 2013 Western Washington University women’s volleyball schedule announced by head coach Diane Flick.
The defending Great Northwest Athletic Conference champion Vikings, who reached the NCAA Division II West Regional semifinals in 2012, open their season at the Western Oregon Invitational on Sept. 5-7. They then compete at the Sonoma State Invitational on Sept. 13-14.
WWU opens conference play on the road, traveling to Montana State Billings on Sept. 26 and to Seattle Pacific on Sept. 28.
The Vikings make their first home appearances the following week, entertaining Northwest Nazarene on Oct. 3 and arch-rival Central Washington on Oct. 5.
Also coming to Sam Carver Gymnasium are Alaska Fairbanks on Oct. 17, Alaska Anchorage on Oct. 19, Seattle Pacific on Oct. 24, Montana State Billings on Oct. 26, Western Oregon on Nov. 7, Saint Martin’s on Nov. 9, and Simon Fraser on Nov. 23. All of WWU’s home matches begin at 7 p.m.
Completing the Vikings’ schedule are seven league road matches. They are at Saint Martin’s on Oct. 10, Western Oregon on Oct. 12, Central Washington on Oct. 31, Northwest Nazarene on Nov. 2, Alaska Anchorage on Nov. 14, Alaska Fairbanks on Nov. 16 and Simon Fraser on Nov. 21.
WWU return three players who earned post-season honors from last year’s squad that finished 24-4 overall and 16-2 in league play. Leading that trio is junior libero Samantha Hutchinson (University Place/Curtis), a second-team American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American and GNAC Defensive Player of the Year. She ranked fifth nationally and led the GNAC in digs per set with a 6.41 average.
The other honorees back are middle blockers Kayla Erickson (Jr., Gig Harbor/Peninsula) and Emily Boerger (Sr., Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck). Erickson earned first-team Daktronics West Region and GNAC all-star honors, averaging 3.12 kills with a .371 attack percentage and 1.17 blocks. Boerger received all-GNAC honorable mention, averaging 1.85 kills and 0.83 blocks.
Flick is beginning her 14th season at WWU with a career record of 273-74, her winning percentage of .787 ranking 10th nationally among NCAA II active coaches. Last fall, she received GNAC Coach of the Year honors for the seventh time.
The Vikings have dropped just one of 27 home matches over the last three seasons. They have a winning percentage of .905 (114-12) at Carver Gym since going to a SportCourt surface in 2000.