Wildcats volleyball coach Mario Andaya won his 400th career game in a sweep of Hawaii Pacific Sept. 9 at Nicholson Pavilion in Ellensburg.

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Mario Andaya is all the way up to 402 wins in his volleyball coaching career.

The man behind Central Washington University’s volleyball success celebrated his 400th win — on his 50th birthday — with a sweep of Hawaii Pacific in the Wildcats’ CWU/SPU Invitational opener Sept. 9 at Nicholson Pavilion, and picked up two more in blanking St. Cloud State (Minnesota) Sept. 10 and Biola (La Mirada, California) Saturday.

“It’s crazy how 400 wins matched up on my 50th, but I was grateful for the recognition and feel blessed to be here at CWU for this long,” said Andaya, in his 26th year at the Wildcats helm. “I liked our resiliency and how we competed this past weekend. We played good defense and extended a lot of rallies which we love to do, so it is nice to see that it led to success in the win column.”

Andaya, a Bothell native who graduated from Central with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1993, won Great Northwest Conference Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2005 and has led Central to 16 winning seasons and five 20-win campaigns, according to Wildcat Athletics.

He became head coach at 24 years old in 1996, and in that time Central has won 11 GNAC championships and reached 11 NCAA regionals.

The Wildcats finished Biola of the Pacific West Conference 25-21, 25-22, 25-14 in their first-ever encounter, holding the Eagles (4-4) to .125 hitting percentage.

Tia Andaya — Mario’s daughter and a 5-foot-9-inch sophomore setter/outside hitter — kept the Wildcats running with 17 assists and eight kills.

Hannah Stires (25 digs) and Sydney Remsberg (16 assists) helped Central lead 20-15 in the first set before Laynie Erickson and Andaya spiked the final two points.

Biola led 9-1 in the second, but Central tied it 21-21 and Marianna Payne, Ashley Kaufman, Leanna Shymanski and Andaya’s kills finished it from there.

Payne’s three spikes helped put the Cats up 21-12 in the third, and Kaufman’s back-to-back kills helped put the Eagles to rest.

In beating St. Cloud State (4-1) of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference — another first meeting — 25-21, 25-23, 25-14, Remsberg piled up 18 assists, Stires swooped for 15 digs, and Andaya came away with 13 assists, 10 kills, 10 digs and six blocks.

Set 1 went to a 13-13 tie before the Wildcats led 18-15 and Shymanski’s late kill sealed it.

The Huskies led Set 2 12-11, but Rachel Linsey’s kill and Maddy Torve’s ace lifted Central to set point at 24-23. St. Cloud erred in its next attack and Central celebrated the clincher.

The Huskies led 4-2 in the third, but Kylee Yamashita’s kill started a five-point run, Payne’s pair of kills helped put the Wildcats up 7-4 and two more kills from Andaya sent them ahead 17-10.

In getting the better of Biola’s Pacific West rival Hawaii Pacific (0-5) for the third time in a row since 2008 — this time 25-14, 25-20, 25-11 on Coach Andaya’s special day — Tia Andaya (24 assists), Remsberg (19 assists), Payne (12 kills, five blocks), Stires (18 digs) and Kaufman (11 kills and 11 digs) made it count.

The Sharks led 10-4 in the first before Yamashita’s kill completed a flurry and put the Wildcats up 18-12, and Central withstood a pair of kills from 6-foot-1-inch Hawaii Pacific senior middle hitter Nicole Farris and 5-foot-11-inch freshman middle blocker Ali Rumpel to close it out.

Set 2 came to a 6-6 tie before the Wildcats led 15-8 and did not yield a comeback, and Central went up 12-5 in the third with a kill barrage from Shymanski, Andaya, Emma Daoud-Hebert and Kaufman before Payne smacked four more to end the evening.

Next for Central is a shot to beat Montana State Billings (3-5) for the fourth time in a row, in its Great Northwest Conference road opener scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday.

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