ELLENSBURG — Central Washington’s volleyball team, which will meet Cal State San Bernardino in a first-round NCAA Division II West Region tournament Thursday in Hawaii, got more good news Tuesday.
Erin Smith, a junior middle blocker from Selah, has been named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association West Region first all-star team.
Teammate Marcy Hjellum, a senior outside hitter from Kennewick, earned honorable mention for the Wildcats, who will be making the program’s first regional appearance since 2006.
Seeded sixth in the eight-team, single-elimination event at BYU-Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii, Central (21-7) will play at noon Hawaii Standard Time or 2 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
San Bernardino (22-8) is seeded third.
CWU seemed a shoo-in for the playoffs until losing setter Catie Fry to a season-ending knee injury in October. The Wildcats lost three of four matches, but then regrouped to close the regular season with six straight victories including a 3-0 win at Western Oregon, which was then regionally-ranked and second in the GNAC.
Smith ranked second in the conference with a .360 hitting percentage and was sixth in blocks. Hjellum had 20 double-doubles this past season, ranking third in the GNAC in kills and points, and was 11th in digs.
If Central wins Thursday, it will meet the winner of a match between Grand Canyon (23-5) and San Francisco State (21-8) on Friday at 7 p.m. Pacific time. The championship match is scheduled for Saturday night.
The Wildcats, coached by Mario Andaya, are making their fourth D-II postseason appearance, having qualified from 2004-06.