Falcons beat WWU for first time since 2000

Saturday, the SPU women’s volleyball team beat the Western Washington University (WWU) Vikings for the first time since the 2000 season. The Falcons won in four games, 28-30, 30-28, 30-21 and 30-25.

"Beating Western was awesome. It was fun to experience that feeling as a team," said outside hitter freshman Angie Wodrich.

The 4th Ashton men came out in full support of their Falcon volleyball team. Dressed for the occasion in full pirate garb, the Ashton men riled up the crowd with cheers, signs and occasional laps around the gym while waving their notorious pirate flag.

"Just the fact that they came ready to support us was awesome … the extra effort they gave was great," said outside hitter senior Jessica Bauder.

The crowd was pumped for a great show, and that is just what they got. It was a night of great volleyball, intense plays and cheering pirates.

The SPU victory gave Western its fourth loss in conference play and dropped them from second to third place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). SPU moved into the fourth position.

The Falcons now have a 7-5 GNAC record and an 11-9 overall record. The game marked the first time SPU has defeated a nationally ranked team since the 2001 season.

Currently, the Falcons are ranked No. 1 in the GNAC for blocking, with 123 blocks this season. On Saturday, SPU showed why they were number one as they out-blocked WWU 12-3. "We’ve been on a role with blocking," said Bauder.

But blocking wasn’t the only area where SPU was dominant. The Falcons, currently third in the GNAC in digs, out-dug the Vikings 112-107. SPU also had an overall higher percentage of points to errors with .190 to Western’s .096.

SPU led Western in kills 64-53 and had six aces in the match. "One of our goals is to serve tougher, and we did that against Western," said sophomore Shelby Gihring, an outside hitter.

On Saturday, Bauder ruled the court. She had a match high 29 digs, only one short of her career high which was set in the previous week’s game against Central Washington University.

Bauder also led in scoring with a match high 26.5 points as well as 24 kills. Her stellar play was recognized when she was named GNAC co-player-of-the-week. Setter Jenna Von Moos and middle hitter Katie Ralph also contributed with six blocks each.

Game one was close with the Vikings barely edging out SPU 28-30. WWU took the early lead, but SPU kept on their toes. WWU was at match point 23-29 when the Falcons fought back. SPU went on a five-point run to catch Western at 28-29, but they could not hold it for the game.

According to Gihring, losing the first game was "kind of a disappointing start because we’re capable of beating WWU. But we picked it up."

Game two was another close game, but this time it was the Falcons who came out on top. SPU soundly defeated WWU in game three, winning 30-21. The Falcons led by as much as 10 points in game three.

"We knew we had to keep up the confidence and have faith in each other to win the [fourth] game," said Wodrich. And that is just what they did. SPU trailed in the beginning of the game but caught the Vikings at 11-11 and never looked back. They took the game 30-25.

Now that they have faced Central and WWU, both nationally ranked teams, the Falcons turn their focus to what lies ahead with the few remaining games of the season. "We have to focus on one game at a time and get the job done with whichever team we face," said Wodrich.

This weekend the Falcons travel to Alaska to face the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Alaska Anchorage. "It’s the next match, it’s the next win that we need. We need to finish these last six matches strong, we need to finish them with wins," said Bauder.

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Title: Falcons beat WWU for first time since 2000 | Author: Noelle Diaz | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2004-10-27 | Internal ID: 4152