Central Volleyball Rallies, But Falls To Northwest Nazarene In Five
ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- The Central Washington volleyball team nearly overcame a two games to none deficit, but the Wildcats fell to visiting Northwest Nazarene, 30-28, 30-26, 19-30, 26-30, 15-8 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action on Saturday night at Nicholson Pavilion.
The loss prevented the Wildcats from an undefeated home weekend, dropping them to 6-12 overall and 5-4 in GNAC play. Northwest Nazarene pulled back into a fourth place tie in the conference standings with CWU, improving to 11-6 overall and 5-4 in conference.
Central fell behind early, suffering a close two-point defeat in the first game and trailing nearly from start-to-finish in game two. The Wildcats heated up their offense in the third and fourth game after inserting some new personnel into the lineup, including freshman setter Carlee Marble (La Conner, Wash.). The sensational service of sophomore Erin Norris (Spokane, Wash./Mead HS) helped the Wildcats race out to a 17-3 lead in game three. Norris served 12 consecutive points for CWU early in that third game, including five of her match-high six service aces in that run.
After its most efficient game of the match to that point in the third game, in which Central Washington hit at a .227 percentage and held Northwest Nazarene to an .049 clip, the Wildcats improved even more in the fourth game. CWU overcame six ties and three lead changes, and used a feverish 10-0 run to turn a 19-11 deficit into a 21-19 advantage. Five ties followed after Central's extended run, before the Wildcats scored the final four points of the game -- two on kills and two on NNU attack errors -- to force the decisive fifth game.
In game five, Northwest Nazarene controlled the tempo and the scoreboard, putting Central in an early 5-2 deficit. The Wildcats did close to within one at 5-4 and 7-6, but NNU scored eight of the game's final 10 points to steal its first win over the Wildcats at Nicholson Pavilion since both schools became GNAC members in 2001.
Central Washington had four players with 10 or more kills on the night, with Rachael Schurman (Spokane, Wash./Mead HS) again leading the way with 17 kills. Norris matched a career-high with 16 kills for the fourth time this season, adding five blocks and the aforementioned six aces, while Kayla Roof (Eatonville, Wash.) came off the bench to total 12 kills and a career-high 22 digs. Freshman Kady Try (Brentwood, Calif./Mead HS) recovered from a slow start and finished with 11 kills and 12 digs. Marble finished with 30 assists in the final three games, while junior Maggie Olson (Snoqualmie, Wash./Mount Si HS) had 27 assists in the opening two frames.
Northwest Nazarene was led by Lindsay Forseth with 21 kills and 15 digs. Loni Evenson added 10 kills and 24 digs, while setter Allison James nearly had a triple-double with nine kills, 51 assists, 12 digs, and seven blocks.
Central Washington will now hit the road for three straight matches, beginning with next week's annual venture to the Alaska schools. The Wildcats face the Alaska Nanooks in Fairbanks on Thursday (Oct. 11) before taking on Alaska Anchorage on Saturday (Oct. 13). CWU next plays at home Oct. 25 against Montana State Billings.