August 26, 2001
Geoducks drop heartbreaker - What a way to make a lasting impression in a new environment. The Evergreen State College opened up its first-ever women's volleyball season with a marathon match against Northwest College, dropping a Cascade Conference heartbreaker in five sets - 24-30, 31-29, 32-34, 30-28, 15-12 in the CRC Gymnasium. The Geoducks opened up the fifth-set with a 7-1 run, but a furious rally from the squad from Kirkland, Wash., evened things up at 11-11. A Kelly Clarke smash gave Northwest their first lead, and true freshman Kelly Hopkins ended the match with a net service ace, giving first-year head coach Shaun Kupferberg the win. Evergreen wowed its home crowd by winning the first set, and led 29-28 in the second. However, Clarke helped the Eagles run off the final three points with two of her 15 kills "This was truly an exciting game," said Evergreen head coach Bill Lash. "Our team played their hearts out tonight, we just made too many mistakes down the stretch."
About the mistakes - One of the most glaring statistics following Friday's match was Evergreen's hitting percentage. The Geoducks had a .195 attack percentage, and recorded just one game with a percentage over .200. Also, Evergreen recorded 16 service errors, which is compounded this year by rally-scoring. A service error gives not only gives the opponent the serve, but a point as well.
Murray brings the hammer - Sophomore Anna Murray (Olympia, WA / Saint Martin's) made an outstanding debut for the Clams. The transfer led Evergreen with 18 kills, 18 digs, along with five service aces and two solo blocks. At one point during game four, Murray recorded three consecutive service aces.
Great start for young setter - The Evergreen volleyball era began just as planned. True freshman setter Hanna Plunk (Broomfield, CO / Broomfield HS) placed a perfect outside ball to Anna Murray for the kill. This began a solid night for Plunk, who recorded 39 assists, along with eight digs. The south-paw also had the highest attack percentage on the squad (.571), recording four kills in seven attempts, with no errors.
Nice night for middle blockers - Though height is not the Geoducks best forte, Evergreen did outblock Northwest 7-5 on Friday. Leading the way was Stephanie Short (Spokane, WA / Spokane Falls CC) with two solo and two assisted blocks. Fellow blocker Courtney Brandon (Pomeroy, WA/ Walla Walla CC) had one solo block to go along with 14 kills.
Difficult road ahead - Evergreen heads out on the road for the first time, playing four straight dates on enemy turf. The trip begins Friday with a pair of games at Concordia University, one against the host Cavaliers, and one against Westmont of California. After a week off, the Geoducks will travel to Western Baptist and Warner Pacific, before hosting Walla Walla College on September 17.
First off Westmont - The Geoducks look to stop a Westmont (17-11 in 2000, lost in NAIA Region II tournament) squad that has eight returning and seven new players. Fourth-year head coach Jim Smoot lost NAIA All-American middle blocker Tena Mensonides to graduation, but returns powerful outside hitters Elsa Lubisich (345 kills, 3.56 kpg) and Patti Scofield (351 kills, 3.58 kpg). The Warriors, from Santa Barbara, CA, are members of the Golden State Athletic Conference, one of the toughest volleyball conferences in the entire NAIA.
Then the Cavs - The steamroller from the 2000 Cascade Conference season meets Evergreen in its 2001 CCC opener on Friday night. Concordia (29-2 in 2000, lost in NAIA National Tournament pool play) ran through conference play last season with a perfect 16-0 record, and returns three All-CCC selections this year. The team opened the 2001 season with a pair of victories at the Lewis-Clark State tournament, including a shocking victory over the host Warriors, the first LCSC home loss since August of 1999. Head coach Joe Houck likes having All-American setter Mindy Wallis (13.2 apg in 2000) back, as the junior recorded 73 assists in the victory over LCSC. Also back is sophomore blocker Andrea Rose (.348 attack % in 2000) and senior hitter Emily Weaver, an NAIA honorable mention All-American.
Fore more information - All press releases, statistics, and team information about every Geoduck athletic team visit the official website for Evergreen athletics.