The Western women’s club volleyball team finished their season placing fifth in the Division II national playoffs in Kansas City, Missouri.
The team began pool play on April 13 with their first three matches, finishing 2-1. On April 14, the team repeated its 2-1 record from the day before to move to 4-2 overall.
During the second day of nationals, Western won a close three-set match against the University of New Hampshire, 23-25, 25-21 and 15-9. Sophomore right side hitter Abby Bennett said they started out far behind but the comeback was great.
“We got this sudden rush of adrenaline and we were able to pull off a win,” Bennett said.
The Viking’s 4-2 record from the first two days seated them to play in the gold bracket where the top eight teams in Division II battled on April 15.
Western lost their first match in the bracket to the University of Wisconsin–River Falls, eliminating them from the tournament.
Senior Rachel Hunter took over the leadership role as head coach since November due to an injury. She said they had some of their best performances during nationals.
“Our main goals were just staying consistent and [to] play for each other,” Hunter said. “Play for the girl next to you, not yourself.”
Sophomore setter Elle Parris said the team improved from last year, and it was a great experience to have a lot of new girls.
“All together we played super well as a team and I think the energy we had was just incredible,” Parris said. “Seeing all these other teams play, being involved in the competition and knowing we can compete with these teams is awesome.”
Bennett said nationals was a lot of work, but it was worth it as new players were able to step up their game in the end.
“It felt like we had been playing together for a few years, not just one season,” Bennett said.
The team typically only gets to play colleges from Washington and Oregon during the regular season, so with about 450 schools at nationals, they got to meet players from all over the country.
“Everyone here is so friendly and so eager to ask you where you’re from, and what team you’re from,” Hunter said. “The tournament as a whole is like one big family and community where everyone is there for the same reason.”
The Vikings participated in a total of six tournaments including nationals since early fall, finishing the season with a record of 25-11.