SFU loses in straight sets against Central Washington

Tamara Nipp had a game high 31 assists.

It was the same 3–0 score as the previous night. However, this time SFU was on the other side of the sweep. After defeating Northwest Nazarene in straight sets, SFU lost to Central Washington in straight sets Saturday night on the team’s annual Pink Day.

“Central outplayed us,” said head coach Gina Schmidt after the game. “They looked like they wanted it more. [After] playing back-to-back nights, it looked like we were a step behind in certain things.”

This game was a crucial one for the Clan. With Central Washington right below them with a 5–2 record, a loss would see them move up into a tie for second with SFU. The first set went to Central Washington 25–19. The Wildcats went on six- and five-point runs during it to come out on top.

SFU came out and played well early on in the second set, but Central Washington slowly took control and won it 25–21, the closest one of the night. The third and final set was all Central Washington. SFU briefly had a one-point lead before the visitors went on a seven-point run to take it 25–14, and with it, the game.

“We just weren’t on,” said Alison McKay after the game, who finished with 17 digs. “Things weren’t just going our way. A few lucky breaks by them got us down that it just felt like we couldn’t pick back up into it. They had a few runs that we couldn’t come back from. It was a tough night.”

It certainly was a tale of two different games for SFU, but in some ways they were eerily similar. The Clan outscored Northwest Nazarene by 21 over the course of Friday’s game, and SFU only trailed by two points halfway through the second set. In Saturday’s game, SFU was ironically enough also outscored by 21 points over the night, and the team’s biggest lead was by two points 6–4 — early in the second set, and 2–0 at the start of the game. SFU is now 2–2 on back-to-back conference games this year, with one more set coming up on October 28 and 29.

“Our level of execution” said Head Coach Gina Schmidt on the difference between Friday night’s game and Saturday night’s game. “Central is a good team, they were able to attack both pins and we didn’t have an answer for that.”

A win could have moved SFU up to 7–1 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) play this season, and a secure hold on second place in the conference. However, with a 6–2 record in conference play, the Clan is now in a three-way tie alongside Central Washington and Western Washington. On the bright side, SFU’s next two opponents are Seattle Pacific and Saint Martin’s, who currently sit seventh and ninth in the GNAC, respectively. Wins against both teams would certainly help SFU gain back some momentum before a huge clash with Alaska Anchorage on October 20.