Western Washington University volleyball player Mae Thungc, a senior defensive specialist who prepped at Kentridge High School, has been selected to the 2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Preseason All-Conference Team.
Thungc joined senior middle blocker Kayleigh Harper (Oak Harbor) and sophomore outside hitter Gabby Gunterman (Lake Stevens) on the team.
Thungc was a key piece of the Vikings defense a year ago, averaging 3.65 digs per set to go along with 27 service aces. During WWU’s postseason run, Thungc averaged 3.91 digs per set, including a pair of 20-dig performances in the NCAA II semifinal and national championship matches.
Harper, a three-time First Team All-GNAC selection, was selected by conference coaches as the Preseason Player of the Year to headline the list of 14 preseason All-GNAC selections.
Harper was a Second Team AVCA All-American as a junior in 2018, helping lead the Vikings to the national championship match. She led the GNAC and ranked 3rd in the nation with a .410 hitting percentage, recording 409 kills and only 70 errors (827 total attacks). She also ranked 8th in NCAA II averaging 1.36 blocks per set.
Gunterman played in all 34 matches during her redshirt freshman season in 2018, averaging 2.18 kills, 1.03 digs and 0.40 blocks per set. She book-ended her season with a career-high 16 kills in the first match of the season against nationally-ranked Wheeling Jesuit and in the national championship match against Tampa.
WWU enters the season as one of the preseason favorites to repeat as conference champions, tying for first atop the GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll with Central Washington. Western received seven of 11 first-place votes as the program looks to defend conference titles in each of the last two seasons. WWU is also ranked No. 3 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Preseason Poll, extending a streak of 95 consecutive national polls the program has appeared in.
WWU hosts the University of British Columbia at 1 p.m. Saturday in a preseason exhibition match in Carver Gym.
The Vikings officially open the regular season Sept. 5-7 with four matches at the West Florida Invitational in Pensacola, Fla., beginning with a match against tournament host and No. 24-ranked West Florida. The conference and home opener is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, against Northwest Nazarene.
The complete schedule and more information can be viewed at WWUVikings.com/VB.