ELLENSBURG, Wash. – In the midst of a four-game winning streak, the Central Washington University volleyball team is set for their final two home games of the season this weekend. The #19 Wildcats will host Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday, followed by Alaska Anchorage on Saturday for Senior Day.
Thursday, Nov. 9, 7:00 pm
vs. Alaska Fairbanks
Saturday, Nov. 11, 7:00 pm
vs. Alaska Anchorage
QUOTING HEAD COACH MARIO ANDAYA
“This is a pretty significant week for a few reasons. Not only are we preparing for two very good teams, but it is also our last homestand and we are honoring the seniors graduating for our program. It is that time of year when we are chasing goals, but also embracing the time we have with some very special individuals.”
ABOUT THE NANOOKS
The Nanooks will look to turn around a three-game losing streak when they enter Nicholson Arena losses Thursday evening, most recently suffering to Saint Martin’s and Western Oregon last weekend. UAF is coached by Brian Scott, who’s in his ninth year at Fairbanks and has the Nanooks at 13-16, 6-9 GNAC.
Junior outside hitter Karli Nielson’s 2.93 kills per set ranks sixth in the GNAC, followed by Ella Bines (2.56) and Lily Stewart (2.22). Ainsley Smith and Cynphany Henderson split the setting duties for the Nanooks.
UAF has a two-headed blocking duo of Josie Jansen and Kristina Head who both have 90 or more blocks on the season. Grace Steurer records the most digs, averaging 3.36 per set, followed by three more Nanooks who record more than two per set.
The Nanooks got the best of CWU when the Wildcats made their trip north last month, completing the upset in four sets. UAF responded to a first-set win by the Wildcats, taking the following three frames. For the ‘Cats, Ashley Kaufman had a big performance, tallying 16 kills. Tia Andaya had eight kills, 36 assists, and eight digs.
ABOUT THE SEAWOLVES
First-year head coach Stacie Meisner has the Seawolves at 15-15, 7-8 GNAC, right in the middle of the conference standings. Entering the weekend, UAA has won three in a row, including a pair of 3-1 wins at Western Oregon and Saint Martin’s last weekend.
Senior outside hitter Nicole Blue has been a force for the Seawolves this season. She’s third in the GNAC in kills per set (3.33) and tied for the conference lead in service aces (54). Makena Eleneki and Kadyn Osborne record the majority of the assists for the Seawolves.
Junior middle blocker Isabel Evans commands 1.07 blocks per set, ranking sixth in the GNAC. Leilani Elder isn’t far behind with 0.82 per frame. Reilly Plumhoff records the most digs for UAA with 3.46 per set.
The Wildcats put together a strong performance in their visit to Anchorage last month, sweeping the Seawolves and holding UAA to an attacking percentage of .096. Ellie Marble led the team with 14 kills, followed by Scottie Ellsworth with 11. Andaya recorded 36 assists and 11 digs, while Emma Daoud-Hebert had a team-high six blocks.
LAST TIME OUT
The Wildcats extended their winning streak to four games at Northwest Nazarene last Saturday, making quick business of the Nighthawks in a sweep (25-19, 25-17, 25-19). Dominant blocking led the ‘Cats, preventing any NNU momentum. Morgan Halady and Andaya had six each, while Daoud-Hebert had five. Marble led the Wildcats with 12 kills.
In Monday’s AVCA/TARAFLEX Division II Coaches Poll, the Wildcats jumped up a couple of spots to #19, just one spot among conference-leading Seattle Pacific who dropped a game to Western Washington last weekend.