Nov. 19, 2010

Courtesy of Seattle Pacific

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.
- Sarah Risser had 17 kills, one of four Seattle Pacific players in double figures in that department, and Shelby Swanson had career-high double of 56 assists and 29 digs on Friday night as the Falcons advanced to the championship match of the NCAA Division II West Regional volleyball tournament with a five-game victory against rival Western Washington.

Scores in Coussoulis Arena were 12-25, 25-20, 27-25, 22-25, 15-11.

Seattle Pacific, ranked No. 14 nationally, will play the winner of Fridays late semifinal between top-seeded Cal State San Bernardino and No. 4 seed UC San Diego on Saturday night at 7 for the West title and a spot in the Elite Eight.

The victory tied SPUs all-time single-season total of 26, which was set in 1989.

Senior outside hitter Risser (Santa Barbara, Calif.), junior outside hitter Lindsey Wodrich (Richland, Wash./Richland HS), junior opposite Paige Hoffman (Encinitas, Calif.) and sophomore setter Swanson (Kennewick, Wash./Kamiakin HS) all posted double-doubles. Swanson had just set a career high with 54 assists in Thursdays five-game first-round victory against Cal State Los Angeles. Her 29 digs was 15 more than her previous best, set in 2009.

Risser had 18 digs to go along with her 17 kills; Wodrich had 15 kills and 22 digs, and Hoffman posted 12 kills and a career-high 19 digs.

Redshirt freshman middle blocker Nikki Lowell (Claremont, Calif.) had 16 kills, just one shy of her career high, which she had tied in Thursdays victory. Lowell also had six block assists.

This was the third match this season between the Falcons and the 15th-ranked Vikings (20-4). Western Washington won a three-game sweep in Bellingham on Oct. 9. Seattle Pacific bounced back with a four-game win in Seattle on Nov. 4.

SPU never trailed in the deciding fifth game, scoring three straight points to snap a 2-2 tie. The Falcons extended the lead to as many as four points at 11-7. Western Washington twice got back within one, the last time at 12-11, before Seattle Pacific ran off the last three points: a kill by Lowell, a kill by Risser, and an attack errors by Westerns Emily Jepsen on match point.

The Falcons hammered a season-high 67 kills and hit .162 for the match. They came up with 116 digs.

Western Washington was led by the 15 kills of Megan Amundson. The Vikings hit .178 for the match with 61 kills.