BURNABY, B.C. - Middle blocker Kayla Erickson (Jr., Gig Harbor/Peninsula) and outside hitter Kelsey Moore (Jr., Bellevue/Newport) each had 14 kills and three blocks, all match highs, as nationally ranked Western Washington University clinched the conference title with a 25-23, 25-18, 25-16 victory over Simon Fraser University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball match at the West Gym on the SFU campus.
The Vikings, ranked No.10 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, improved to 22-3 overall with their eighth straight victory. They are 15-2 in conference play, clinching a second straight GNAC crown and the seventh in the 13-year history of the conference.
As the GNAC champion, WWU earns an automatic berth in the West Regional. It will be the second straight appearance for the Vikings and their third in four years. Simon Fraser dropped to 11-12 overall and 6-11 in league action. The Clan was led by the 13 kills and 15 digs of Kelsey Robinson.
Erickson, who posted double-figure kills for the 18th time this season, had three errors in 27 attempts for a match-high attack percentage of .407. Rachel Roeder (So., Sammamish/Issaquah) added nine kills for WWU.
Libero Samantha Hutchinson (Jr., University Place/Curtis) had a match-high 25 digs and setter Taylor Dillard (Jr., Milton/Fife)contributed a match-best 42 assists along with 15 digs, two blocks and two kills.
There were eight ties and seven lead changes in the first set. With the score tied at 22-all, WWU scored the last three points on two kills by Roeder and one by Erickson.
Holding a one-point lead at 17-16 in the second set, the Vikings scored eight of the last 10 points for a 2-0 match lead. During that run, Erickson and Moore each had two kills with Erickson also having a service ace.
WWU finished the third set and ended the match with a 17-9 run. Moore had kills on five of the Vikings’ last eight points.
WWU, coached by Diane Flick (14th year, 296-77), closes out its regular season with a home match against Simon Fraser on Saturday, Nov. 23 (7 p.m.) at Sam Carver Gymnasium.