Wildcat volleyball starts Alaska trip with 3-0 sweep - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcat volleyball starts Alaska trip with 3-0 sweep

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By CWU Athletics
 
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (Nov. 3) -- The Central Washington University volleyball team used a balanced offensive attack from four key hitters, and the Wildcats escaped three close sets en route to a 3-0 sweep of the host Alaska Nanooks on Thursday night at the Patty Center.

The Wildcats improved to 13-10 overall on the season, securing an overall record of .500 or better for the 10th time in the past 11 years. CWU, which has three matches remaining in 2011, is now 7-8 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play.

"When we passed the ball, we were tough," CWU head coach Mario Andaya said. "Alaska played good defense, but we did our part in extending rallies and scoring off our own defensive plays. It was a good win in a tough place."

Passing off the serve was one of several successes for the Wildcats in Thursday's win, as CWU had just two reception errors on 58 Nanook serves, and the defense had a total of 67 digs. Freshman Kaely Kight (Spokane, Wash./Mead HS), who also had 27 digs in the match, was flawless in 26 serve-receive attempts in the match.

The two teams saw a total of 24 ties and eight lead changes over the course of the three-set affair, and although Central won the opening set by four points, that frame was the closest of the three on Thursday night. There were 10 ties and five lead changes before the Wildcats closed out the set on a 7-3 run to take a 1-0 match lead.

The tightest of defensive sets was the second, which also proved to be the most closely-contested on the scoreboard. CWU and UAF combined for 71 digs in the second set alone -- led by Kight's 12 digs -- while each team had virtually identical statistical totals of 13 kills, one ace, three service errors, and two blocks. The difference was two more hitting errors by the host Nanooks, the last of which came on a Wildcat block to set up set point at 24-22. Two plays later, sophomore Erin Smith (Selah, Wash.) landed a kill to make it a 2-0 match score.

Smith, who finished with 10 kills and a team-high three blocks, led the way offensively in the third set, notching five kills in the final frame. Three others -- senior Meg Ryan (Spokane, Wash./Mead HS), junior Jordan Offutt (Leavenworth, Wash./Cascade HS), and freshman Cheltzie Williams (Twin Falls, Idaho) -- added three kills apiece in the final set as CWU outscored the Nanooks by seven in the kill department.

Offutt finished with a match-high 11 kills, followed by Smith with 10, Ryan with nine, and Williams with seven for the Wildcats. Kight, Ryan, and junior Marcy Hjellum (Kennewick, Wash./Kamiakin HS) all reached double figures in digs with 27, 12, and 12, respectively, while senior setter Carlee Marble (La Conner, Wash.) totaled 37 assists. CWU hit .161, nearly twice as efficient as UAF (.081).

Alaska was led by Simone Chavous with 10 kills and Casey Tidwell with nine. Karlee Skalla led three Nanooks in double figures in digs with 21, as UAF edged CWU by a 75-67 count in total digs for the match.

Central Washington wraps up its away schedule on Saturday, visiting regionally-ranked Alaska Anchorage at 7 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time (8 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time). The Wildcats then have consecutive home matches next week inside Nicholson Pavilion on Thursday (Nov. 10) and Saturday (Nov. 12).
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