Vikings could be special

With a share of the top spot at stake, the Vikings entered Friday’s match one game behind Eastern Washington in the Big Sky.

With a share of the top spot at stake, the Vikings entered Friday’s match one game behind Eastern Washington in the Big Sky. Proving they were anything but soft, Portland State rolled the Eagles in three straight sets after dropping the first one.

“We wanted to go in and focus,” senior setter Nique Fradella said. “We wanted to play each point one at a time.”
With outstanding play along the net, the Vikings took control of the game after dropping the first set. Portland State’s middle blockers opened up the maple for their big hitters with a combined total of 29 kills, 12 blocks and a .393 hitting percentage, which allowed Fradella to effectively distribute the ball.

Winning for the first time at Eastern Washington since joining the Big Sky in 1996, the Vikings were firing on all cylinders as they left Cheney, Wash., with a win that will prove valuable at the end of the year. The Viks find themselves sitting atop the Big Sky in a three-way tie with Eastern Washington and Northern Colorado.

“We kind of all knew we would be making history [if we won],” Fradella said. “Now we’re in a tie for first.”
Despite dropping the first set 25–23 due to some untimely service errors, the Vikings controlled much of the match and demonstrated that control in the next three sets with convincing wins. Powered by the passing of Fradella, four different players reached double-digit kill totals, while Fradella racked up a season high of 48 assists.

“I think we played a very solid and steady match,” said coach Michael Seemann. “I think we essentially controlled all of the sets, even though we lost the opener.”

After taking the second set to tie the matchup, Portland State got down early against the Eagles in the third set. Playing from behind, 7-1, the Vikings began to assert themselves and evened the match at 14-14 before eventually taking the match 25–22 on an Erica Jepsen kill.

With the win in sight, Portland State bore down on the retreating Eagles. After giving up the first point in the set, the Vikings never trailed the rest of the game and rattled off three in a row to finish the Eagles in a convincing fashion.

Now with the first of three crucial matches down, Portland State is looking forward to the next two against Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado. If the Vikings can pull out a win in both games, they will become the clear favorite to win the conference championship.

A win against Northern Colorado will be the most important because of the potential tiebreaker advantage it will give. No matter the outcome of both games, the Vikings have served notice of their intent to claim the conference championship and that they have the talent to do it.

Players of Note
                           Kills    Hitting Pct.    Assists        Digs
Nique Fradella          5            .714            48           10
Whitney Phillips      14            .214              2           11
Lana Zielke               8            .533             0             2
Christie Hamilton     11            .333             1            2
Erica Jepsen           10            .364             1             2