Falcons close Western Washington Invitational 3-1

Risser on the rise

Seattle Pacific University women's volleyball stepped up their game at the Western Washington Invitational, winning three matches and taking Division II 7th ranked West Texas A&M to five tight games in their only losing match.

"Against West Texas, they did a better job of making it difficult for our outside hitters but we really actually played well against them, too. We could have beat them and I really feel like we should have beat them, but the final score didn't turn out that way," said Falcons head coach Chris Johnson.

A couple errors in the game made the difference, Johnson noted. The final game in the match against Texas A&M ended with Falcons down 15-13. But the close match was the only loss for the Falcons in the tournament.

In the first match against Notre Dame de Namur of California, SPU won in the fourth game 3-1, which they followed with a 3-0 win against Grand Canyon of Phoenix. The Falcons closed the tournament another 3-0 victory against the University of British Columbia.

"We started to do a lot of things we've been focusing on in practice, which was good to see," Johnson said. "We passed really well on the whole, played good defense and we stayed aggressive in all of our matches from start to finish which I think helped us out a lot."

Coming out of tournament play, the Falcons hold a 6-6 record, and Johnson noted the team is playing better now as it moved away from splitting matches and toward securing wins with strong offense.

"Sara Risser's playing really well. She's probably been our most consistent hitter so far and Amber Johnson has been a great addition to the team this year," Johnson said. "People are having a hard time stopping her at all."

Both Risser, junior outside hitter who totaled 65 kills in the tournament, and sophomore Johnson who had 29 kills, made the All Tournament Team this past weekend.

With tournament play over, the team heads into Great Northwest Athletic Conference play tomorrow.

"I think we're ready. We're excited. We have a lot of weapons offensively we can attack people with," Johnson said. "Our team is really learning how to take care of the ball, minimize our errors and really put pressure on our opponents. I think we're going to be strong in conference this year."

Last year, the Falcons finished the season at 8-18, 5-11 in the GNAC. Tomorrow, SPU visits Northwest Nazarene in Nampa, Idaho for their GNAC opener at 6 p.m., followed by a match at Saint Martin's this Saturday.[[In-content Ad]]