CWU News

Wildcats Trap Nanooks 3-1 in GNAC Opener

The Central Washington University volleyball team opened Great Northwest Athletic Conference play in the last frontier, taking on the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Led by Makala Swart's 20 kills, the Wildcats trapped the Nanooks 3-1 (25-15, 24-26, 25-23, 25-22) on Thursday night.

The Wildcats (7-1) jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the opening set of the contest, going on to take it 25-15. The second set was filled with back and fourth action. With the set tied at 24, the Nanooks outlasted the Wildcats 26-24.  The Nanooks rocked the Wildcats early in the third set, leading 10-4. The Wildcats went on a 13-7 run to tie the game at 17. The rode the momentum to a 25-23 set victory. The two teams found themselves tied at 19 in the fourth set. The Wildcats used a 6-3 run to end the set 25-22.

"UAF did a nice job coming after us and defending," head coach Mario Andaya said. "We kind of let the ebbs and flows of the game get to us at times and got a little of track. I was happy to see the team find a way to make the plays they needed down the stretch of those sets."

Swart was magnificent for the Wildcats. Seven of Swart's 20 kills came in the second set. Shelby Mauritson came on strong in the later sets of Thursday's match. The senior out of Medras, Oregon finished the night with 14 kills. She added 13 digs, putting together a solid night for her team.

Madison Weg was strong offensively. Weg had 13 kills on 39 attempts. Gabrielle Aihara continued her strong junior campaign, racking up 54 assists on 60 Wildcat kills. Kyla Morgan had a season-high 37 digs.

"It's a nice win and good way to start the conference season," Andaya said. "Gabby did a good job of getting our offense on track and the hitter stayed determined."

The Wildcats conclude their trip to Alaska on Saturday. They take on the University of Alaska Anchorage at 7 p.m.