Senior Parker Webb on senior night/Alberto Alonso Pujazon Bogani

Viks prepare for 2021 Big Sky Volleyball Tournament

Katie Camarena finishes 5th, will be the first Viking to make it to Nationals



New head coach Chelsey Gregg led the Vikings to their first regular season game in an 84-67 win over Warner Pacific last Tuesday. Freshman Esmeralda Morales is a name you want to remember this season, setting a freshman record of 32 points in a single game, three-point field goals made (8) and field goals made (11). Alaya Fitzgerald dropped 16 points on Tuesday with two three-pointers.


Redshirt senior Savannah Dhaliwal—in her first regular season match in 985 days—dropped 13 points and three assists to help secure the win. Freshman Rhema Ogele had a total of 11 rebounds and 10 total points.


Dhaliwal explained that she was a little bit anxious, returning to the court. 


“I think the best way to get our nerves out is to just go out there and have fun and play hard,” Dhaliwal said. “We have so many freshmen on the team [and] we have people that have not played because of injuries, but just to bring that excitement into today was a really good feeling.”


“It was very exciting,” Morales continues. “New year for me, new team and new everything. I was excited to see what we have and what we can do.”


After being down by one after the first quarter, the Vikings had a 13-0 scoring run right before the half, allowing the Knights only eight points after scoring 28 in the first quarter. Before that second quarter comeback, the Viks were down in the first quarter (28-27), and Warner Pacific had six turnovers compared to the Vikings’ two. 


“We got away a little bit from our principles defensively,” Dhaliwal said. “We kind of let them do whatever they want to do—which is not what we do on defense. We started to figure that out in the second quarter. We lost it for a little bit but we brought it back together afterwards.” 


“We knew what we needed to do and what we had to get back to, and what we needed to get stops,” Morales said, explaining it really was “just principles.”


This is a young team, this year, with nine underclassmen on the roster. Dhaliwal said that she had definitely taken on a leadership role on the team. 


“When I came in as a freshman, there were six super seniors like me and I was the young one,” Dhaliwal said. “So I know what it feels like to be a freshman, and I also feel like, after last season, I had to step up a little bit. Even though I haven’t played for two seasons, I still had that experience. I just want the younger girls to know that if they need anything, I’m here for them.”


Jada Lewis controlled the game, leading the Viks with 22 points and 8-13 in field goal attempts against the Trailblazers of Dixie State on Friday. The Viks won 80-52, advancing to 2-0 at home for the season. Rhema Ogele, once again led with 13 rebounds and dropped 14 points. Morales and Dhaliwal both dropped 11 points on the Trailblazers, even after the slow, 13-11 first-quarter start. The Viks put up 18 points off the Trailblazers’ turnovers, and defense held them to only nine points in the fourth quarter.


The Viks start the season with a 2-0 start, and will travel to Hawai’i for the Bank Of Hawai’i Classic starting on Friday, Nov. 19 against Prairie View A&M—and University of Hawai’i on Nov. 21. The next home game is weeks later on Dec. 2, when the Viks begin conference play against the reigning Big Sky champions, Idaho State, who are also expected to finish first in the coaches’ and media polls. 



The season started in Corvallis against the Beavers in Jase Coburn’s first-ever game as the new head coach for Portland State, after eight years with the Viks. The Viks looked promising at the second half, leading 41-30 over the Pac-12 champs. The Viks sadly dropped the game 73-64. However, Khalid Thomas dropped 16 points and James Jean-Marie made a debut 14 points and a double-double, after transferring from the University of Hawai’i. The 6-8 senior Jean-Marie also led the team with 10 rebounds, with seven defensive and three offensive rebounds. 


The Park Block Vikings came home on Nov. 12 to dominate Evergreen State College—a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) team—100-44. Marlon Ruffin, a junior transfer out of University of Omaha led the team with a game-high 18 points, hitting 6-9 and 5-6 on the free throw line in just 18 minutes. Jean-Marie came with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Gio Nelson went all out, shooting 5-6 and going 3-3 in three pointers with a total of 13 points.


The Viks have seven transfers on this team this year. Thomas and Ruffin had to adapt to new changes and make the chemistry work.


“It’s just the mindset, we gotta come in everyday,” Thomas said. “It’s not about coming in and trying to get your points or trying to show the coach that ‘I can do this.’ It’s more about trying to be able to learn from each other, and learn how we’re going to be able to move on the court together.”


“We already knew the basics and what we’re supposed to be doing out here,” Ruffin said. “I feel like everyone has an understanding for each other and everyone understands.”


In regards to Iowa—third place in Big Ten last year and a March-Madness round 32 appearance—both athletes felt they had to take it one game at a time.


“We’re going to try to build off momentum,” Ruffin said. “We had a good two days of practice after OSU, we got some guys’ confidence back tonight and get right back to practice Monday and gameday on wednesday.” Portland State plays their next game on Wednesday, Nov. 17 against George Fox at 7 p.m. and at the Bridge City Battle against University of Portland on Nov. 23.

FOOTBALL 5-5 (4-3)


The gridiron Viks couldn’t get it done on Saturday against the nationally-ranked #12 Hornets, falling 49-20. Sacramento State is second in scoring in the Big Sky, and the Hornets are still undefeated in the conference, now 7-0. The Viks move to three losses in Big Sky at 4-3. 


Davis Alexander, second in Big Sky in passing, went 23 for 38 and a huge 231 yards—and threw for a pair of touchdowns. Malik Walker had 16 carries for 97 yards with a touchdown to give him his tenth touchdown of the season, tied for second-most in the conference.


Sacramento State’s 49 points tied for the most the Viks have been scored on this season, since the season opener in Hawai’i (35-49). Jalynne McGee rushed for 63 yards with 10 carries. Darien Chase led the Viks with nine receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown, giving the Viks their only lead in the second quarter. Beau Kelly had an impressive three receptions for 68 yards and a 34-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. Viks and Hornets both had 23 first downs but Viks were 0-3 on fourth down. Xavier Bell had nine tackles that game, with Parker Mckenna at seven and 0.5 yards tackle for loss. 


The Viks have their eyes set on the Pacific Northwest battle next week. Eastern Washington travels to Hillsboro Nov. 20 in the last game of the regular season. Crowds can expect a high scoring game from both the Vikings and Eagles. Walker and Eagles’ running back, Dennis Merritt, lead the Big Sky in scoring—and Alexander and Eagles’ quarterback Eric Barriere both lead the Big Sky in passing. 




Katie Camarena is officially going to nationals in Tallahassee, Florida on Nov. 20. With a time of 20:06.6 in the 6k, she finished fifth individually in the NCAA West Regional out of 235 runners. 


Five Viks—Maya Irving, 21:03.2 at 56th, Liza Sajn, 21:07.3 at 60th, Abi Swain, 21:37.4 at 88th and Hunter Storm, 21:39.4 at 89th—made it in the top 100. #109 Natalia Martino and #117 Tatum Miller finished with a time of 21:47.0 and 22:07.9, respectively. Stanford finished first with 42 and Washington second with 84. Oregon was third in the 6k, with 100 points even. Portland State finished 11th in the regional with 298 points. 


The men’s finished eighth overall in the regional for the 10k—the best the program has ever been, breaking a school record. Keynan Abdi finished first for the Viks, with a time of 30:40.4. Jordan Macintosh wasn’t too far behind Abdi, who finished 30:41.8. Behind them were Josh Snyder, 31:09.8 at 60th, Dom Moganti, 31:25.0 at 75th, Drew Seidel, 31:27.6 at 77th, Luke Ramirez, 32:32.3 at 127 and Evan Peters at 33:07.5 at 149. 


Just like the 6k, Stanford came in first with 61 points and Washington in second with a closer 66. University of Portland came in third with 94 points. 


Now, all eyes are set for nationals as Camarena, PSU’s sole runner, looks to break more records on Nov. 20. 

VOLLEYBALL 18-9 (12-4)


A stunner in five sets against the Bobcats of Montana State hands the Vikings their second conference home-loss, two games in a row. The Viks lost 3-2 (25-18, 21-25, 25-15,19-25,10-15) in a back-and-forth set battle. Makalya Lewis continues to show out with 20 kills, one block, one ace and 17 digs. Zoe McBride and Maddy Reeb both acquired three blocks from the match, with 12 kills by McBride. The Viks had a better hitting percentage at .220 than the Bobcats who hit .188 that match.


The Viks recognised seniors Ally Wada, Parker Webb, Genivieve Florig along with McBride on senior day last Saturday, and swept the Griz of Montana 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-19) to finish out their regular season and last game at home. Lewis led senior night with 11 kills, three aces and two blocks. McBride had nine kills, four aces, and two blocks.


Libero Ellie Snook leads the Big Sky in digs, and is third in service aces. Lewis and Webb are fifth and eight in kills, respectively—and ranked similarly for most points in the Big Sky. Wada is fifth in Big Sky for assists and Zoe McBride is eighth in service aces in Big Sky. 


The Park Block Viks end their regular season 12-4 (18-9) and finish third in the Big Sky. Weber State and Northern Colorado ultimately share the Big Sky title with a record of 13-3. 


It’s not over for the #3 Viks though, as they start the Big Sky tournament in Ogden, Utah on Nov. 18 in a quarterfinals match against #6 Sacramento State at 9 a.m.—a team the Viks have yet to beat this season. The winner of the Big Sky Volleyball Championship earns an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

All 5 Viking Volleyball seniors posing for senior night Alberto Alonso Pujazon Bogani


Not only is Camarena nationals-bound after placing fifth individually in the NCAA West Regional in Sacramento, she will be the first-ever runner to represent Portland State University in the nationals in Tallahassee, Florida next week. Camarena is a redshirt senior from San Juan Hills, California and spent four years running for University of California, Santa Barbara—and now she has set a lot of records in just one year of being a Viking. Among these are:

  • 4th in Big Sky Championship, best individual finish
  • 5th in NCAA West Regional, best individual finish
  • 4k school record at Viking Rust Buster, Sept. 3
  • 5k school record at Big Sky Championship, Oct. 29
  • 6k school record at Santa Clara Bronco Invitational, Oct. 16