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Wildcats Stuff Nighthawks 3-0


A rare Tuesday night contest saw a familiar result for the Central Washington University volleyball team. The Wildcats swept the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks 3-0 (25-19, 25-7, 25-20).

The Wildcats (19-5, 13-4) outclassed the Nighthawks (6-18, 6-11) for a majority of Tuesday's action. As a team, the Wildcats had a 20-kill advantage over their opponents. The Wildcats held the Nighthawks to a .093 hitting percentage, while obtaining 14 blocks on the evening. Head coach Mario Andaya credits the work ethic of his middle blockers. 

"It was a good win," Andaya said. "Sarah Joffs, Bridgette Webb, Madison Lee and Julia Mellander, have been working so hard. They keep our team going in a lot of ways. Our blocking has been a big factor and they are hitting at a really good clip right now."

Shelby Mauritson carried the Wildcats throughout the opening set. The Nighthawks led 6-4 when Mauritson sent home a pair of kills that evened the score. The Nightahwks had the momentum, hanging on to a 15-11 lead when the Wildcats used a timeout. Mauritson responded with a kill coming out of the timeout. It propelled the team to a 5-1 run, tying the score at 16. The Wildcats closed out the set strong, scoring nine unanswered points to earn the 25-19 set win.

"Offensively, we stayed the course," Andaya said. "Northwest Nazarene was digging a ton of balls in that first set. I felt that we were hitting okay, passing fine, but they kept the score close. We mustered up some offense and it worked out."

Gabrielle Aihara stepped to the service line to open the second set. The Wildcats enjoyed an 8-0 run, forcing the Nighthawks to use a timeout. The timeout meant nothing to the Wildcats as they dominated the second set. Leanna Shymanski earned the final point with a kill, as the Wildcats took the set 25-7.

Makala Swart had the opening kill of the third set. Much like the sets prior, it sparked a 7-2 run in favor of the Wildcats. The Nighthawks fought back into the set, as a kill from Tayler Markland pushed the score to 17-15. Webb smashed home a kill that started a 9-3 run that helped the Wildcats close out the set 25-20.

Mauritson and Swart led the squad with 13 kills each. Swart was efficient, finishing the match with a .500 hitting percentage. Madison Weg had a strong night, racking up 11 kills, led the team with four blocks and added nine digs. Kyla Morgan tied a game-high 19 digs. The win was the fifth-straight for the Wildcats, their fourth consecutive sweep.

The Wildcats look to maintain their momentum as they host Montana State Billings on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. inside Nicholson Pavilion.