Home sweet home. Proven mortal in its
opening match of Great Northwest Athletic Conference play, the
Seattle Pacific University volleyball team returns home, where it
has proven invincible over the last year. This week the Falcons
(1-1, 8-2) host a pair of GNAC matches, Friday (Sept. 14) versus
Saint Martin's (1-1, 4-10) and Saturday (Sept. 15) versus
conference co-leader Central Washington (2-0, 6-4) in Brougham
Pavilion. The next road match is across town Sept. 20 at Seattle
Safe haven. Everybody needs a place of
refuge at times, a place where they can feel safe and able to put
their life in order. For the Falcons, the pavilion is that place.
There, they have won 16 consecutive matches dating back to Nov.
12, 1999. Ten of those victories have been emphatic, 3-0 sweeps.
Already this season SPU has won four matches at home, including
Nobody's perfect. Everyone makes
mistakes, even the Falcons. Just two days after cracking the top
25 rankings for the first time in six years, Seattle Pacific
stumbled and fell in its GNAC opener at Western Oregon. The
important fact was that the players quickly closed ranks and
recovered by beating Humboldt State to salvage a road split last
week. This week the Falcons, who were No. 23, slid out of the top
25, although they earned enough votes to be listed 27th overall,
among other teams receiving votes.
Not their night. Western Oregon used
the SPU Invitational to effectively scout Seattle Pacific and then
parlayed that information into a game plan which stymied the
Falcons in Monmouth. The Wolves' defense denied the favorite
attacking angles. Consequently, Seattle Pacific managed just 39
kills, committed 25 errors and the hitting percentage plummeted to
.095. Although each game was close, it was the first time a
non-Hawaii team had swept SPU in the last 50 conference matches.
Two days later at Humboldt State, it was back to business as
usual. The Falcons hit .308, made just 16 errors and served 15
aces to the Lumberjacks' four. Monica Abrahamson (Sr., Spokane,
Wa./Rogers) slammed 13 kills in just 21 attempts to pace the
Leilani & Leah. It's that time of
year when the statistics begin to reach double and triple digits,
and leaders begin to emerge not just on the court but on paper.
Coach Kellie Radloff has said several times that for her team to
achieve its goals, it must get big efforts out of both Leilani
Kamahoahoa (Sr., Oregon City, Or./Canby) and Leah Wiiest (Sr.,
Spokane, Wa./Deer Park-Cornell). Each player ranks among the GNAC
leaders in two categories thus far. Kamahoahoa is fifth in
services aces (0.59) and eighth in digs (3.08) while Wiiest is
sixth in blocks (1.14) and ninth in kills (3.30). Kamahoahoa, who
became the school's all-time kills leader earlier this month,
needs 89 to become the career record holder in digs as well. She
is also 26 aces shy of Radloff's career mark there.
Quick Sets. Seattle Pacific ranks first
among GNAC teams in services aces per game (2.32) and is second in
attacking percentage (.225) and kills (14.08). Individually, Katy
Higgins (So., Redmond, Wa./Redmond) is seventh in assists (10.00)
and Cathleen Price (Fr., Gresham, Or./Sam Barlow) is seventh in
aces (0.57)...Radloff continues to adjust her lineup, using Wiiest
both in the middle, where she played last season, and on the left.
Price, whose .236 attacking percentage leads the team, has
alternated those positions with Wiiest during the first three
Opponent & series notes. The
Falcons have won six in a row over Saint Martin's, including five
by sweep. The Saints' last win in Seattle was in 1997. Overall
they trail the series 22-4...SPU has also won six straight over
Central Washington, although two of those matches went five games.
SPU leads the series 22-18. The Wildcats began GNAC play by
defeating both Northwest Nazarene and Seattle University in
Ellensburg last week.
Tickets, please. General admission
tickets for all SPU home volleyball matches are priced $5 with
students, youth and senior citizens $3 with proper identification.
Teams or groups can qualify for discount rates by call (206)
281-2085 in advance.
SPU Coaches. In her first season as a
head coach, Kellie Radloff's team earned its first trip to the
NCAA tournament, won its division in the Pacific West Conference
and advanced to the conference semifinals for the first time. It
set a school record with 20 consecutive wins and equaled the marks
for most wins (24) and fewest losses (6) in a season. Radloff,
whose past collegiate experience included two years under JoAnn
Atwell-Scrivner at SPU (1994-95) and one year at Syracuse, was the
Falcons' starting setter from 1989-91, earning all-conference as a
senior. She remains the SPU record-holder for service aces (142)
in a career and single match assists (83). Hannah (Bradford)
Walker is in her first season as an assistant coach. She was an
assistant at Whitworth College for two seasons and owns the SPU
career record for kills average (3.5). Antonela Secer, a native of
Croatia, also joins the staff along with Jim Woolace, formerly a
high school coach in Fairbanks.