The SFU women’s volleyball split their two weekday home games — on Tuesday evening they saw their fourth straight loss, while Thursday provided a welcome win.
Tuesday’s game — a scheduling rarity — was a four set defeat to the top Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) squad, the Western Washington University Vikings (WWU). Though the Clan fought well in the first set and came on top 31–29, the Vikings showed why they’re the top team in the Pacific Northwest. They stormed back to win the next three sets 25–20, 25–11, and 25–21.
The last time that these two teams played, SFU played an excellent first set before losing 1–3. The same was to follow this time, too. The first set was quite even until the end, when the Vikings gained three points in a row to get a 24–22 lead and two match points. However, SFU defended well and tied it back at 24 all. The Clan were able to keep up the momentum and came out on top 31–29.
Western Washington took the second set 25–20, and handily took the third quarter 25–11. It became clear why WWU is ranked as high as they are, as it seemed like every SFU spike was either blocked at the net or went straight to a Viking player.
SFU came out swinging in the fourth. Madison Power and Devon May began spiking like they did in the first set, and blocking by Tessa May stonewalled the WWU front court. All this, combined with more spectacular digs from Alison McKay, gave SFU a commanding 15–8 lead.
However, it was not to be, as the Vikings clawed back to tie it up at 18 all. A series of long rallies ensued, and it was Western Washington who came out on top in those, building a 24–19 lead. SFU was able to save two match points, but the third time was the charm as WWU took the fourth 25–21 and won the match.
“I thought we fought hard, you saw a lot of good long rallies. We did a lot of good things, but they just did a few more good things,” said Head Coach Gina Schmidt.
Thursday night, however, it was the Clan’s turn. SFU swept the Montana State University-Billings Yellowjackets (MSUB), winning all three sets handily, and snapping a four game losing streak. The victory also marked the first home win since October 8.
Despite SFU notching the first point of the game, the first set started on an even keel, with the teams tied for much of the set, with the Yellowjackets even leading for periods of time. However, after the Billings-based team got an 11–10 lead, SFU put up a seven point run, establishing a dominant lead that neither team had been able to reach previously.
Two three-point runs and a two-point run later, SFU won the first set 25–14. After SFU’s initial seven-point run, the Yellowjackets could only muster three further points.
SFU would go on to win the second and third sets 25–17 and 25–19, respectively. First year middle blocker Tessa May led the team in kills with 13, followed closely by redshirt sophomore middle blocker Madison Power, who had 12 kills.
With the split games, SFU now sits at 10–12 overall and 6–8 in the conference, which places them sixth in the GNAC.