Author: Taylor Hall

November 14, 2010 Taylor Hall

1-2 may not be how the Seawolves hoped to start their 2010 season, but they sure got a big win over UC-San Diego today to put the past two games to rest. UAA rolled to a 67-52 win over the the West Region rival Tritons in the final game for both teams at the 2010…

November 14, 2010 Taylor Hall

UAA is riding a game high 10 points from senior guard Brandon Walker in route to a 28-24 halftime lead over UC-San Diego. For a third straight game, the Seawolves came out hot shooting and find themselves up at the break. This time, the lead come against the 2-0 Tritons, a West Region rival of…

November 13, 2010 Taylor Hall

The Seawolves seemed to have found themselves in a bad Hollywood script and are desperately looking for a rewrite.

UAA seems to have found a problem with finishing games as they fell to 0-2 on the season after a 84-70 loss to Lewis University.

For the second straight game, the Seawolves had a 10 point halftime lead and looked to be in complete control. Also like last nigh though, the Seawolves squandered the lead and surrendered a high amount of points against. Tonight, it was the Flyers taking advantage of the UAA breakdown as they outscored the ‘Wolves 49-25 in the second half.

“We came out really hard in the first half and we’re shooting well and had some really good rotations,” said Casey Robinson, who finished the game with 10 points and five boards. “Second half, they came out and hit those three three’s and that hurt us.”

Lewis junior guard Chris McClellan showed just how deadly he can be from deep. McClellan went 6 of 10 from distance and finished with 20 points.

In all, the Flyers had five players reach double figures in scoring.

UAA junior forward Taylor Rohde had 19 points to lead the Seawolves in scoring to go along with five boards.

Senior guard Brandon Walker looked strong in the first half finishing with 11 points. However, his offense stalled as he went 0-8 from the field in the second half. Robinson also was held scoreless in the second half and was noticeably disgruntled after the game.

“I think (Walker and Robinson) are putting way too much pressure on themselves to have success and they’re getting in their own way,” said UAA Head Coach Rusty Osborne. “We’re trying to talk to them about relaxing and letting the game come to them.

“They didn’t lose their talent over the summer and it will come out soon.”

Lewis also got more help from their bench which outscored the Seawolf reserves 29-9. All of those nine points came from junior forward Matt Peterson in 15 minutes of action. The Flyers won the battle of the boards as well outrebounding the Seawolves 37-27.

UAA will get a chance to turn the tides on their early-season woes when they get West Region opponent UC-San Diego in their final game from Anaheim.

November 13, 2010 Taylor Hall

The UAA Men’s basketball team has seemed to turn the page on a dreadful second half yesterday and finds themselves up 10 at halftime against the Lewis Flyers. The Seawolves have never been down in the game and are getting balanced scoring tonight. 2010 All-GNAC First Teamer Brandon Walker is out to a good start….

November 13, 2010 Taylor Hall

It wasn’t easy by any means, but the UAA Seawolves got another close win over a West Region opponent. The 63-55 victory came against the Grand Canyon Lopes in what was a back in forth battle throughout most of the contest.

UAA saw sophomore forward Alysa Horn break out for a double double and lead the way for the ‘Wolves tonight. Her 14 points and 11 boards were both team highs. She also connected on three of her five three point attempts.

“I say my role (this year) has changed significantly,” Horn said. “I have to focus on the defensive end and on doing things for my teammates.”

Junior forward Kaylie Robison gave her second double double effort in as many tries. She was a once again a force in the paint by putting 11 points and 11 rebounds up on the stat sheet. Senior guard Nikki Aden contributed 12 points in the win in another great individual effort.

For GCU (1-1), the hot play of senior guard Samantha Murphy cooled off in the second half. After the 2010 Pac West Conference Player of the Year went off for 17 points in the first frame, UAA put the clamps down and held her to only two points in the second half.

Lope’s freshman guard Maylinn Smith also had a solid game by putting up 16 points and seven boards for GCU.

The game was a back and forth one with the teams trading leads several times in the first half. However, the second half saw GCU in constant catch-up mode against the green and gold.

UAA (2-0) wouldn’t pull away until the waning seconds when junior forward Hanna Johnannson and Aden both knocked down both of their free throw attempts in their respective trips to the charity stripe.

“(GCU) is as talented as they come,” Moser said. “the win means we can beat anyone, but we have to make sure we don’t prove we can lose to anyone.”

“We beat two predicted conference winners already so we’re right where we need to be right now.”

Next up for the Seawolves is a game with Texas Women’s University. The Pioneers are 0-1 on the season after dropping their first game to GCU 76-69.

November 13, 2010 Taylor Hall

In what has become a back and forth tilt, the score is 33-31 in favor of UAA at the half here from the 2010 Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic from the Anaheim Convention Center.

UAA has used a balanced scoring attack while GCU is riding the hot hands of two players.

Senior guard Nikki Aden leads the ‘Wolves with 8 points. Sophomore forward Alysa Horn has also chipped in with 5 points and 6 boards.

Once again, junior forward Kaylie Robison has led the way o the glass for UAA with a game-high eight boards.

For the Lopes, it’s been the Samantha Murphy show. She leads all scorers with 17 points and has gone 4-5 from behind the arc. The senior guard was last years Pac West Conference Player of the Year. UAA will need to find an answer to slow her down.

GCU freshman Maylinn Smith has put up 9 points.

UAA keeps showing their team ability to bring down boards. So far, they are outrebounding the Lopes 23-15.

Check back more for a complete game recap as well as player and coach video interviews.

November 12, 2010 Taylor Hall

New season, usual suspects for the #13 UAA Seawolves as they got a hard-fought 74-62 win over #11 UC-San Diego in the 2010 Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic.

Senior guard Nikki Aden and junior forward Hanna Johannson came up big for the ‘Wolves with 18 and 14 points respectively. Johannson also had 10 rebounds for the double-double. Aden grabbed eight boards herself.

Newcomer junior Kaylie Robison introduced herself nicely in a Seawolf jersey getting her own double double 10 points and 10 boards).

Johansson and Robison were able to find their rhythm in the second half and use their size advantage on the undersized Triton defenders.

The win means a lot to the Seawolves as the game will have a very positive effect on West Region rankings as the season wears on. It also was a big win for the Seawolves, a team that is still trying to find their identity according to Head Coach Tim Moser.

UCSD had the brunt of their offense come through sophomore guard Emily Osga and junior guard Daidy Feder who paired up for 41 of the Triton’s 62 points.

However, it was too much size for the Tritons to handle as they saw UAA outrebound them 51-26. UAA also outshot their opponent from the field by shooting 44.3 percent from the field to UCSD’s 32.7 percent.

The Seawolves also effectively shut down UCSD’s 2010 All-CCAA Conference selction Chelsie Carlisle. Carlisle, a junior guard, was held to six points off 3-10 shooting. Moser singled out Carlisle as one of the best players in the West Region as well of all of Division II.

No rest for the Seawolves as they will be back on the court in the first game tomorrow. They will square off with another West Region foe in Grand Canyon. GC was victorious in earlier tournament action against Texas Women’s University 76-69.

Tip off will be at 11 am (AKST) and you can catch all the latest action right here on TNL’s Anaheim page.

November 12, 2010 Taylor Hall

Things are heating up from Anaheim as the #13 UAA Seawolves and #11 UC-San Diego Tritons are battling it out at the 2010 Disney West Coast Tip-Off Classic. In a early season game that has significant West Region playoff indications, UAA holds a slight 31-25 lead at halftime. UAA and UCSD are both looking to…

November 12, 2010 Taylor Hall

After being up 32-23 at the half, the Seawolves were torched for 52 points in the second and fell to the Dixie State Red Storm 75-58 in Anaheim.

DSC rode a game high 15 points from junior forward Griffon Jones, as well as seven rebounds.

UAA was led by junior forward Taylor Rohde who in his first game for the Seawolves had 14 points and a team-high seven boards in 23 minutes. Also scoring in double figures for UAA were senior guard Drew Robinson (12 points) and Mario Gill (1o points).

After coming out hot and shooting 39.1 percent from the field in the first half, UAA couldn’t buy a basket at times. They shot 8-30 in the second, good for 26.7 percent. On the flipside, the Storm shot lights out in the second going for 54.5 percent from the field.

With their biggest lead of 16 points coming with little time left in the first half, the Seawolves may have let off the gas just a bit according to Head Coach Rusty Osbourne.

“We didn’t finish out the first half how we wanted and it broke our momentum a little bit,” Osbourne said. “Second half, we lost a little bit of our poise which comes from not playing a lot together yet.”

In the second half, Dixie used runs of 11-3 and then a huge 21-2 in the second half to cut the UAA lead and then run away with a lead of their own.

“A lead is never too big and a deficit is never too big,” Osbourne said. “These teams we are playing are all good and we have to play it out for 40 full minutes.”

Osbourne highlighted the play of freshmen guards Travis Thompson and Kyle Fossman, who finished with six and three points. Both saw solid minutes in their first career collegiate games and handled themselves well in the run of play.

Next up for the Seawolves is West Region foe UC-San Diego, who is currently playing against Lewis University Flyers out of Illinois.

Some bright spots were the

November 12, 2010 Taylor Hall

The Seawolves have officially kicked off the 2010-11 campaign from sunny Southern California! UAA is taking part in the 2010 Disney West Coast Tip Off Classic and is squaring off against Dixie State College. At halftime, the ‘Wolves are up 33-23 on the Red Storm after a half that saw UAA use its whole arsenal…

November 9, 2010 Taylor Hall

The odd week off in the WCHA came at a bit of a strange time for the UAA Seawolves, but it may be just what the doctor ordered. No, really, this one seems like it came with a doctor’s note. With all the injuries the Seawolves have, this week couldn’t have come at a better…

October 26, 2010 Taylor Hall

Need to get rid of your old skis or snowboards and make some money? Are you looking for a good deal on the latest ski equipment? Do you like helping support local groups and the community?

Get it all done by attending the 2010 West High Ski Swap Oct. 30-31 and start off your ski or snowboard season right. The free event takes place at West High School and is put on by the Alyeska Ski Club (ASC) and the UAA Ski Team.

The highly popular seasonal get-together has been going on at West High for quite some time, perhaps so much time that people can’t really seem to remember the exact year it started up.

Russell Sell of ASC and organizer of the Ski Swap, was able to paint a pretty good picture of just how long the event has been going on.

“We know of at least a couple people who grew up going to the swap, went to West High, went off to college, came back, got married, raised their kids and now those kids are attending the event,” Sell said with a laugh.

“It’s a generational event that we have 2,500 to 5,000 of our closest friends come out every year.”

ASC, a non-profit organization serving Alaska since 1970, works with nearly 500 kids in the winter time up at Alyeska Ski Resort and about 200 kids during the summer as part of their newest program “Mighty Bikes,” which is all about Mountain bike safety and fun for kids.

Sell himself has been in charge of putting on the event for nearly a decade now and has worked closely with the UAA Ski Team ever since coming aboard.

The event also acts as the Seawolf Ski Team’s biggest fundraiser. According to Head Coach Trond Flagstad, the swap raised around $10,000 for his program last year and went into buying new equipment for the team.

Flagstad also points out the Ski Swap is so much more than just what the name may lead one to think.

“It’s more than just alpine and nordic ski gear; it’s hockey skates, sleds, bikes, helmets, boots and snowboards too,” Flagstad said. “Basically any winter activity is there.”

On top of offering some of the best deals possible for selling or buying new or used winter gear, the Swap will feature plenty of vendors ranging from local to national clubs and groups.

“The last five years or so we’ve tried to make more of an expo out of it,” Flagstad said. “We invite groups to have booths and sell products and services to get the whole ski community out there.”

According to Sell, vendors will include local ski clubs, both alpine and nordic, and will have big name ski companies, such as Swix for example, providing demos and the latest products. Local ski/snowboard groups will have sign up sheets for upcoming programs and events as well.

Perhaps the most important service the Ski Swap offers the community also acting as food collection site for those who need help with the upcoming winter and holiday months.

“(West Ski Swap) is also an intake point for the Food Bank of Alaska,” Sell said. “Anyone who comes to the swap should bring something with them such as canned foods or non-perishable items.

“It’s so easy to do and it goes so far. It’s up to us to help out.”

All the food donated by the attendee’s of the swap will go to the Thanksgiving Blessing Project, a November community-wide food distribution event.

“Our guys will come to the swap, we’re not worried about that,” Sell said. “We want to make sure this event has something more to it for the entire community.”

So where else can you sell off your old gear, get a great deal on new equipment, demo the latest and greatest gear, help support the UAA Ski Team and help feed the less fortunate all in one or two hours?

You can accomplish all of it in one easy and fun motion by making sure you get yourself and the family and friends down to West High this week.

Editors Note: Doors open for buyers and sellers 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Oct 30. and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Oct. 31. For more information on the West High Ski Swap or on ASC and the UAA Ski Team, go to www.alyeskaskiclub.org or www.goseawolves.com.

October 19, 2010 Taylor Hall

Just past the halfway mark in GNAC conference play, the UAA Volleyball team will put their 4 game win streak on the line when they take on Western Washington and Simon Fraser this week.

The ‘Wolves will get rival WWU Oct. 21 in Bellingham and then will finish the road trip with their first ever game in Burnaby, British Columbia against their new Canadian foe SFU on Oct. 23.

The Seawolves (7-3 GNAC, 12-6 overall) are coming off a (3-1) win up in the Interior of Alaska against the UAF Nanooks.
This victory avenged what sophomore Nikki Viotto called “a kick in the butt” loss earlier this season when the Nanooks shocked UAA 3-1 in Anchorage back on Sept. 18.

As the Seawolves continue to rise in the standings, they know they have a great chance to catch one of the teams that sits above them in the conference by getting a win on the road.

However, to get those wins and make up ground in the GNAC, they will have to do it one of the toughest places to get wins, something Head Coach Chris Green is fully aware of.

“Western is flying pretty high right now and to play them on their home court is always going to be tough,” Green said, who earned his 500th collegiate victory on Oct. 2 against Montana State Billings. “They’ll be ready for us and they’re definitely looking for a bit of revenge.”

UAA already has defeated the Vikings this season when they were able to come away with a 3-1 win at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex back on Sept. 25. The win was also their third straight against the Vikings, who still own the overall series record (23-10) over UAA.

WWU (?-? GNAC, ?-? overall) comes in ranked (?) in the nation and sits (?) in the GNAC. The Vikings also are on a winning streak (?) of their own and look to be hitting their stride as expected.

The match with SFU (?-? GNAC, ?-? overall) will also present a challenge in itself. Not only are The Clan a possible trap game for the ‘Wolves, but it will be a brand new building to get acclimated to. The team also doesn’t know what to expect in terms of how many fans will come and what the atmosphere will be like.

In the teams first meeting ever, the Seawolves easily dispatched SFU 3-0 in Anchorage back on Sept. 23.

According to Green, the Seawolves have seemed to turn a corner on their early season struggles with consistency on the court.

“Defensively we’re playing better simply because we know where each other is out there now,” Green said. “Setters are becoming more consistent and reliable and it has helped offensively as well.”

Sophomore defensive specialist Nikki Viotto pointed out another reoccurring problem that will have to be avoided down the stretch of the season.

“We start games slow and finally start to pick it up by the second or third game,” Viotto said, who has played in every game to date this season and is second on the team averaging 3.06 (CHECK) digs per game. “That has definitely been one of our struggles as a team.”

Viotto also points out the return of a fully healed Cortney Lundberg as a much-welcomed boost.

“When Cortney shows up to play, you know it’s game time,” Viotto said. “When she plays good, it pushes everyone else more to play good.”

Lundberg, a senior middle blocker, missed eight games earlier in the season due to an ankle sprain. Despite being in the lineup, she has not been quite back to full health.

The development of newcomers has also been helpful as of late for the green and gold as well.

Most notable is freshman middle blocker Robyn Burton. Burton has emerged as a double threat as she ranks fourth in all of Division II Volleyball with her 1.30 (CHECK) blocks per game on defense. On offense, she ranks third in the GNAC with a .317 attack percentage (CHECK).

“Because of our youth on the team, a lot of freshman aren’t freshman anymore when it comes to playing,” Green said. “Robyn has such a good jump and is very smart and doesn’t commit a lot of errors.”

“She has been one of our strongest players lately without doubt.”

October 19, 2010 Taylor Hall

The Seawolf hockey team is ready to open the book on the 2010-11 WCHA campaign as they go to battle with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.

UAA will travel to Duluth Oct. 22-23 for a pair of road contests against a perennial power in the conference. Despite the tough challenge presented in UMD, the Seawolves (?-?-? overall) are coming into the game having already found much success in the early season.

Last week, the Seawolves were in Fairbanks for the Brice Alaska Goal Rush tournament, hosted by rival UAF.

The Seawolves first took on No. 18 Colorado College, a fellow WCHA member, on Oct. 15. The action would be a see-saw tilt in which CC would score and UAA would answer back with one of their own.

However, the ‘Wolves couldn’t seem to get the equalizer a fourth time and would end up dropping the game 4-3 to the Tigers.

UAA got goals from sophomore Mitch Bruijsten, freshman Jordan Kwas, and the second on the season from junior Curtis Leinweber.

Rob Gunderson would end up stopping 23 of 27 shots in his second collegiate game.

Going into conference play, Head Coach Dave Shyiak knows that the ‘Wolves are going to have to roll four forward lines to keep having success.

“We need to get scoring by committee as it can’t just be Tommy Grant and Sean Wiles every night,” Shyiak said. “We’re going to need each of the lines to step up and help offensively.”

Case in point: The Seawolves had 11 players record points in the Kendall Hockey Classic back on Oct. 8-9. That weekend, UAA won 3-2 against Air Force and tied No. 2 North Dakota 5-5.

The team will also need their duo of freshman goalies, Chris Kamal and Gunderson, to perform like upperclassmen against a strong Bulldog offense.

The two goaltenders have split time and remain game time decisions as to who gets the next start, according to Shyiak. Neither has locked down the number one spot but that will come with time.

“At that position, it’s all about getting more games under your belt and being seasoned more,” Shyiak said.

Sophomore Dusan Sidor has yet to see game action but continues to work hard in practices and be a dark horse in the race for time in games.

Gunderson, a 6’1” Lethbridge, Alberta native, says the battle for supremacy between the UAA pipes has not been an issue at all between the goalies.

“Chris, Dusan, and I, we’re a bunch of brothers in the locker room,” Gunderson said. “It’s definitely a friendly competition but we strive to push each other as well.”

Continuing to lead the way offensively is senior forward Sean Wiles, whose (?-?–?) totals through four games comes from him doing all that Coach Shyiak asks of him.

“He said just keep playing my game, play hard, keep moving my feet, drive the net, and be a presence out there,” Wiles said, who this past summer attended the NHL’s Washington Capitals Development Camp.“

Fellow senior Tommy Grant also is doing his share as well by chipping in 5 points (1-4). Three seawolves Bailey, Cameron, and Bruijsten, currently have one goal and three assists on the season, and also are paying dividends offensively for UAA.

Despite being new to the college game, newcomers like freshmen Brett Cameron, Mark Pustin, Jordan Kwas, and Matt Bailey all have seen substantial ice time and have done well by adding point production and energy to supplement the top line of Grant, Wiles, and sophomore Alex Gellert.

The freshman defensive pairing of Wes McLeod and Quinn Sproule have done well on the back end and have been effective, according to Shyiak.

October 12, 2010 Taylor Hall

Though the North Dakota Fighting Sioux may have skated off with the 2010 Kendall Classic title, the UAA Seawolves were by far and away the surprise of the tournament. The Seawolves used a dramatic comeback to forge a 5-5 tie with UND on Oct. 8. After the game was 1-1 midway through the first period,…

October 12, 2010 Taylor Hall

“No defensive player may run into a passer of a legal forward pass after the ball has left his hand. The Referee must determine whether opponent had a reasonable chance to stop his momentum during an attempt to block the pass or tackle the passer while he still had the ball.”

Straight from the NFL Rulebook is this very definition of a Roughing the Passer penalty.

It seems clear enough in its definition and doesn’t leave really any grey area. So why is it there is so much controversy nearly every time a flag is thrown for this infraction?

Perhaps it’s due to the hot-seat issue of concussions in the game.

The league has invested millions into the matter. Research, testing and prevention are all still being worked towards.

What about the fact that quarterbacks are so vulnerable at times?

Put yourself in the QB’s shoes for a minute.

You’ve got anywhere from three to seven opposing 350-pound pass rushers doing everything in their power to get to you. You have only a small window of opportunity to put a ball exactly where you want to an available receiver.

Needless to say, you will be focused on completing the pass as opposed to who is coming week side on jailbreak blitz.

Is it due to the human element of the game (i.e. the referee) and his judgment of what is clean and what’s not?

It’s safe to say that at times the refs do get calls wrong. Hey, it’s part of the game; no one is perfect. Being a referee has to be one of the toughest jobs due to the fact they have to make split-second decisions that can have a huge impact on the result of the play being made or game as a whole.

They also don’t get the safety net of instant replay in some cases.

I know I’m a guilty as most of you out there. Whether it’s yelling at the refs at games or from the comfort of my couch while watching the game on the tube, I’ve done it all.

Now with all that covered, with all the possible penalties in the hard-hitting game of football, the fact remains that at times it seems that we are left scratching our heads.

An automatic 15 yards is assessed if a hand comes into contact with the quarterback’s helmet, no matter how it touches the helmet.

Really?

If a defensive player is deemed to drive the quarterback into the ground with excessive force, 15 yard penalty.

You’re serious?

It has gotten to the point that defensive players can’t even breathe on the quarterbacks without taking a penalty for their team.

No better case can be made than a game between Cincinnati and Baltimore. Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs got to Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer and looked to have made a clean hit right after Palmer released the ball. Due to momentum, Suggs and Palmer both went down and the play may have looked far worse that it really was.

The play cost Baltimore 15 yards and ultimately led to a field goal in which put Cincinnati ahead for good.

One of many examples this season of the controversial call.

The league has to do something about this and soon.

At this rate, the game is going to just be two-hand touch at the end of the day.

Dear NFL and NFL Referees: please remember this is a contact sport.

October 5, 2010 Taylor Hall

A young UAA hockey team will get plenty of game experience when they host the 2010 Kendall Hockey Classic Oct. 8-9 at the Sullivan Arena.

The second ranked North Dakota Fighting Sioux, Air Force Falcons and two-time defending Classic champs UAF Nanooks will all invade the Seawolves’ home ice.

UAA head coach Dave Shyiak will get an early look at how his team is meshing and which of his 10 newcomers will be able to make immediate impacts in the Seawolf lineup.

“I’m looking for guys to execute things in game situations and get a good gage of where we’re at as a team and which players can perform,” Shyiak said.

Returners such as senior co-captains Tommy Grant and Craig Parkinson will look to help lead a young team to the first Classic championship since 2006. Despite being young, Shyiak believes that the mix of returners and newcomers will be a good thing.

“We’re going to have real good depth up at the forward position and we have a good balance of veterans and new players back on defense,” Shyiak said.

On the blue line, senior Luka Vidmar, junior Curtis Leinweber, and junior assistant captain Brad Gorham will all log large amounts of ice time and help lead the defensive efforts.

The real question is who will be between the pipes for the Seawolves this season. The Seawolves lost the services of both Jon Olthuis and Bryce Christianson from last season and have left the Shyiak with an open competition in practice between three contenders for the number one spot.

“They all look good, are battling hard in practice and the job is certainly open until somebody proves otherwise,” Shyiak said.

The three hopefuls for the opportunity are sophomore Dusan Sidor, and freshmen Rob Gunderson and Chris Kamal.

The Classic provides an excellent tool for the UAA coaching staff to get a look at where their team stands as well as gives hockey fans a long awaited arrival of the season.

“It’s great starting the season in your hometown against some of the best programs in the country,” Shyiak said, who enters his sixth season in charge of the program. “Our young guys are going to be tested early by tough opponents and will get to see what they’re up against this year.”

Their first test will come against a foe they will see plenty this year in conference play, and one of which is a national title contender.

University of North Dakota (UND) will come as the heavy favorites to win the tough-as-nails WCHA title. The Sioux return an experienced group of players (they only lost two seniors from last year) and will be bolstered by the return of fifth year senior defenseman Chay Genoway.

Genoway, the preseason pick to win the WCHA player of the year, was an All-American in 2009 but was limited to only nine games last year due to a season-ending injury he sustained. He will again serve as team captain for a team loaded with talent in all positions.

The team is led by head coach Dave Hakstol, who enters his seventh season at the reigns. Hakstol, who couldn’t be reached for comment, is 155-84-22 during his tenure with the Sioux and is a five-time finalist for National Coach of the Year.

UND, who last year won the WCHA conference playoffs and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for an eighth straight appearance, will also have the services of a Anchorage native.

Evan Trupp, a senior forward who attended South Anchorage High School, is coming off a fantastic junior year. His 34 points were a career high and he led the team with 26 assists, another personal best. He also won Most Valuable Player of the WCHA Final Five last season during the Sioux title run.

The Falcons of the Air Force Academy will prove to be a test as well for the Seawolves.

Last year, the Falcons went 16-15-6 and are very familiar with the Kendall Classic, as this year will be their third Classic appearance.

The tournament is good fit and opportunity for the team and 13th year head coach Frank Serratore.

“We’ve done it before and it’s in the west, so it’s a good trip for us,” Serratore said, who is the brother of Bemidji State bench boss Tom Serratore. “I think it’s a win-win because we get some early games against good opponents in UAF and UAA and people up in the Air Force up in Anchorage get to see our Academy team skate.”

Two years removed from a 28 win season that included a conference title and first ever NCAA Tournament victory, the Falcons are a proven contender in the Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA) conference.

Similar to the Seawolves, the Falcons face inexperience when it comes to goaltenders.

“We graduated our senior goalie last year, Andrew Volkening, who was probably our best player ever in the program,” Serratore said. “So, filling that hole will be our biggest question mark.”

Volkening finished last season with a 2.44 goals against average and .918 save percentage leaves big skates to fill for returners junior Stephen Caple and sophomore David Bosner, who saw only five games combined last season.

Senior Jacques Lamoureux will look to lead the charge for the Falcons offensively this season. He is coming off a season in which he had 22 goals and 20 assists to go along with his team leading 52 penalty minutes.

The road to the Classic title goes through the UAF Nanooks though who will look to three-peat this year.

Head coach Dallas Ferguson will look to lead his No. 12 Nanooks into the Sully and come out with more than just a title.

“Obviously we’re coming down (to Anchorage) to win, but we need to make sure we are getting better before we start conference play,” Ferguson said.

When asked about his team feeling the pressure of their highest preseason ranking ever, Ferguson pointed out that it was more about taking care of their own business first and foremost.

“From our standpoint, it’s nice to be recognized but we have a lot to prove to ourselves first,” Ferguson said. “Working towards our identity and making sure we’re playing together and disciplined is our goal.”

The ‘Nooks only lost three seniors last season and boast strength at all positions.

Andy Taranto, 2009-10 CCHA Rookie of the Year, looks to be the focal point of the UAF attack. His freshman year saw him post 14 multi-point games and finish with 18-24—42 totals.

On the other end of the ice, a combo of juniors, defenseman Joe Sova and goalie Scott Greenham, will keep UAF opponents frustrated. Both players were featured on last year’s Kendall Classic All-Tournament team.

Sova, is a strong two-way defenseman who contributed 6-18—24 totals last season while Greenham was the backbone in net and had 2.20 goals against average to go along with his .919 save percentage.

October 5, 2010 Taylor Hall

It’s a tough crowd to win over and impress up here in Anchorage.

First year head coach Brent Thompson came up to the Alaska Aces organization following in the footsteps of the likes of Keith McCaimbridge and Davis Payne.

McCaimbridge, in his two years at the helm, led the Aces to the national Conference semifinals in 2007-08 and then took the team one game away from the Kelly Cup in 2008-09 after the Aces won both the Conference finals. Not to mention the fact that he was the captain of the Aces championship team back in 2006.

He now is an assistant in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose.

Payne, who now is the head coach of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, led the Aces to their first title in the 2005-06 season and three straight appearances in the Conference finals. The ECHL Coach of the Year in 2006-07 got the call-up to the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen where he was an assistant then head coach before getting the call from the big club in St. Louis.

Now back to Thompson, who by no means is a slouch when it comes to coaching or hockey reputation. Along with a 14-year professional playing career that included time in the NHL, he spent four years as an assistant with Peoria working alongside Payne.

However, despite guiding the Aces to a first round playoff appearance after a season that saw them go 36-28-8, loyal Aces fans were already calling for a change of the guard.

Tough place to coach, indeed.

In response, Thompson gutted the roster from last year and has brought on so far an eye-catching 12 rookies fresh out of the junior or college ranks.

And there is still time to pick up more before training camp begins in October. Not to mention the very likely chance that their affiliate clubs, St. Louis and Peoria, will send prospects down to the Aces for development.

So far, only three players have returned from last year, forward captain Scott Burt, forward Curtis Fraser and defenseman Bryan Miller.

However, the Aces hope the addition of two veteran players will help guide a young (but hopefully hungry) team.

The Aces picked up perennial goal scorer Wes Goldie from the rival Victoria Salmon Kings. All Goldie has done is amass 289 goals and 461 total points in 555 total ECHL games. He should be well known by Aces fans as a constant thorn in their side seeing as 175 of those goals came in the last four years with Victoria, some of which came at the agony of the Aces.

Brian Swanson should prove to be a very useful pick up as well for the Aces. The Eagle River native is a well-traveled veteran center who has 70 games of NHL experience and 257 games in the AHL under his belt. The former Colorado College standout has spent the past six seasons overseas in Germany playing in the Elite League there.

With a solid core of veterans and proven pro players, Thompson can now look to take his pick of the young generation coming into Anchorage.

Though many fans will not recognize any of the new faces or names coming in, they can expect one thing: these guys will be working hard around the clock to earn their spot.

Let’s face it; they have to now. It’s their first “play for pay” job and they need to make their names known.

September 21, 2010 Taylor Hall

Coming off a loss against the rival UAF Nanooks and a pair of GNAC wins, the UAA volleyball team sets its sights on a pair of crucial conference games. One will come against a new foe while the other will be against an opponent the ‘Wolves know all too well.

The Seawolves will get their first look at the team from Simon Fraser, the newcomer to the GNAC. The Clan (0-4 GNAC, 0-8 overall) may be weak in the standings, but UAA head coach Chris Green thinks SFU cannot be overlooked.

“They’ve played some pretty good teams and played them close, so I’m sure they are better than their record shows us,” Green said, who is in his third year at the helm of the UAA program.

SFU will get their first taste of the Seawolves home court, the Wells Fargo Sports Complex, which has seen the Green and Gold win 10 consecutive matches at home. The match is set to go on Sept. 23 at 7p.m.

Sept. 25 will see the Vikings of Western Washington invade the WFSC in what is sure to be a showdown between two GNAC frontrunners.

Western Washington University (WWU), ranked 18th, (2-0 GNAC, 5-1 overall) were picked first in the GNAC in preseason polls, a mere 5 points ahead of the second place pick, UAA. Both teams received four of a possible nine first place votes.

“Western is probably the favorite to win the GNAC still,” Green said. “ They have everyone back from last year and are off to a good start. It will be a challenge for sure.”

Just a few weeks ago, UAA took a road trip in which they played eight games in nine days, one of which put them up against some of the best teams in the West Region. Both UAA and WWU played in the Western Oregon Invitational and were up against some of the same opponents.

The Vikings were able to come out with wins over then 10th ranked Metro State (3-0) and UC-San Diego (3-1), two teams that got the best of the Seawolves during the same tourney.

However, the Vikings only loss comes at the hands of then-2nd ranked Cal-San Bernardino (0-3). UAA, on the other hand, swept CSB 3-0 in their match down in the WOU tourney.

That stunning upset over the Coyotes showed Green one of the things he and his team have been looking for all season – consistency.

“That was a match where everything came together and it showed us we can play with one of the best in the country,” Green said.

Overall, the Seawolves went 4-4 on the trip, battled with fatigue and were still getting to know each other on the court.

“We lost a couple of those games because we didn’t execute on our side of the court,” Green said. “We’re really looking for some consistency as we go into GNAC play.”

The new “6-2” attack system is also something that Green and the team are experimenting with.

A 6-2 system has two setters on the court as opposed to a 5-1 system, in which only one setter is out there.

“Nice thing about a 6-2 is you always have three hitters and a big block up there and can attack from either side,” Green said.

Despite having many new faces on the team, the amount of newcomers has done nothing but strengthened the squad as opposed to slowing the defending champs down.

“As a player from last year, we want to win again and expect it,” Nikki Viotto said, a sophomore defensive specialist who hails from Eagle River. “The newcomers this year understand that goal and are willing to work hard. I definitely got to hand it to them for how they’ve all stepped up.”

New faces like freshman setter Siobhan Johansen averages 5.84 assists per set and freshman middle blocker Robyn Burton averages 1.51 kills per. This can only bode well for UAA who will have their hands full against SFU and WWU.

The Vikings come into the match with a 2-0 record away from their home in Bellingham, Washington. The Seawolves come in undefeated at home.

“We’re definitely out to get them and they’re out to get us because we beat them twice last season and they weren’t too happy about it,” Viotto said.

As the old saying goes  “something has to give.”

September 16, 2010 Taylor Hall

The GNAC and WCHA just got larger and more difficult to navigate through for the Seawolves. That is because three newcomers to the conferences are now competing for the top spot along with them. None of them will be easy opponents by any means, as all bring forth programs with rich tradition in winning. New…

August 26, 2010 Taylor Hall

So let me get this straight.

Brett Favre, who I have no problem admitting to being one of the greatest players ever to throw on football pads, took the Vikings and all of America on yet another summer circus of debate?

Now, for those of you out there who have turned on ESPN, or any sports network for that matter, the past few years, have undoubtedly heard about this.

Just for the sake of conversation, we’ll recap the soap opera of the aging quarterback.

First, there was the move to the New York Jets after the Packers and Favre didn’t see eye to eye in 2008 after he had retired. He played in the Meadowlands and looked pretty ordinary and gave the New York media something to write about. He even took a city and organization close to a playoff birth… close being the operative word.

When that season was done, so was he. Retired again, this time for real, he was off to cut grass in Mississippi and finally relax.

Opportunity came knocking in the form of Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress, who took time out of training camp to come visit Favre in his town of Hattiesburg. Even then, a lot of indecision took place and in what turned out to be a month long blur of questions and stipulation – will Favre return in a Vikings uniform or will he ride off into the sunset?

If you’ve been following along, you undoubtedly know what’s coming next.

Yes, Favre was back, much to the dismay of his loyal supporters back in Green Bay. He had actually gone over to not only one of the Packers main rivals, but he stayed in the NFC North division and would be seeing them even more on the opposite side of the field.

The sight of Favre only got worse for Packer nation as he led the rival Vikings to the division title, through the playoffs and within an inch of the Super Bowl. However, Favre threw a costly pick in overtime to the eventual New Orleans Saints and was left to pick up the pieces of crushed title dreams and a damaged ankle.

Now back to this offseason. The Vikings tell Favre to take his time with the decision.

Strike one.

The Vikings let Favre dance around the question as mini-camp and even training camp starts. After the first preseason game of watching potential Favre replacements Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels look less than mediocre with the Vikings starters.

Perhaps in an ultimate move of desperation from coach Childress, Minnesota pulled three veteran players out of training camp to go down to the Gulf Coast to beg Favre to come back to the Vikings for another year.

Strike two.

Well they got him to come back and, not even within 24 hours of him being back at training camp, rumors of Favre running the team and Childress having zero control started swirling.

Strike three and you’re way outta there!

Question: What did the Vikings expect? By sending down three veterans to beg Favre to come back, they relinquished all power of actually being in charge and gave it to Favre. He has the reins. It’s not the owner’s team, or Childress’ team; it’s Favre’s team now.

Good work Minnesota, you can now feel free to take your place at the back of the bus.

By the way, does anyone else wonder why Favre was able to get away with all of this?

Never has there been a display like this by an organization. There is no way that something like this happens in New England, Pittsburgh or Indianapolis. Those organizations wouldn’t tolerate this behavior from any player, rookie or league MVP.

It’s as if the Vikings have traded away their soul for one more chance at a Super Bowl ring. Good luck with that and let us know how yet another postseason tragedy feels.

August 26, 2010 Taylor Hall

It couldn’t have been much sweeter last year for the Seawolves Volleyball team and Head Coach Chris Green. All they did was rattle off an astounding 13 straight victories, win the school’s first conference title and claim their first NCAA Tournament win as a team. Green, last year’s GNAC and West Region Coach of the…

July 29, 2010 Taylor Hall

Passing through the Wells Fargo Sports Complex recently, I stopped outside the swimming pool viewing area. After watching one youth swimmer splash about for a short time, I came across a question that may have puzzled others passing by.

With such a nice pool and facility, why does UAA not have a swim and diving program in their Athletic Program?

After a bit of research, I found out UAA actually had a NCAA Division II swim from 1979 through 1999. The program was only a men’s swim team and was terminated after the 1999 season to make way for a new women’s cross country program to commence in 2000.

The reasoning for the termination of the program was that, on top of there not being many Div. II swim programs at the time, the university needed to comply with gender equity issues.

It all made good sense and gave UAA another team for their primary conference, the Pacific West, now known as the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

But while the Seawolf swimmers were around, they did manage to make a name for themselves. Seawolf swimmers such as Ken Ralph (1988-90) and Jon Pauole (1989-92) even found their way into the Seawolf Hall of Fame.

Not long after thinking about a UAA swim and dive team, I began to think about other programs that UAA could feasibly come to life.
The only answer that I could muster and come up with reasons why it should be a UAA program was soccer.

Yes, despite the long cold winters, agonizing long breakup season and far too short summer, the idea of soccer in Alaska is interesting.

First off, the facility to play already exists in The Dome – a full size soccer pitch on artificial turf that features perfect weather conditions year-round in the quickly changing Anchorage seasons.

Secondly, the player pool is growing within Alaska. With no home team in the state, all those who wish to continue their soccer careers into the university level must go out of state. It is not crazy to think a great portion of those players leaving would be interested in playing for a newly formed UAA soccer program and representing their home state.

Finally, the question of whom the Seawolves could play and compete against has a familiar answer. The Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC), which the Seawolves have most of their sport programs playing in, features a growing soccer league for both the men and women.

Of course just having the proper facilities and room for new athletic programs is only the beginning of it. There are so many steps that would have to be taken for Anchorage to see their green and gold take to the pool or soccer field.

Just food for thought.

July 29, 2010 Taylor Hall

It is perhaps one of the simplest and cheapest games to pick up. People of all ages and skill sets are taking up the game and can be found on courses all over the Anchorage area. The game of disc golf originally was something many in Alaska had never heard of or understood. Now, with…

June 30, 2010 Taylor Hall

The time is now.

Soccer has never been at the forefront of the American sports scene.

Some sports take a back seat to the major sports in the U.S., such as baseball, football and basketball.

Soccer, on the other hand, has never been in the same bus as all the others and has been cast aside as the redheaded stepchild of U.S. sports.

But the winds of change are stirring.

It all comes half a world away from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

After the highly anticipated showdown against powerhouse England, the comeback thriller against Slovenia and the nail-biting finish against Algeria, the common sports fan has taken notice that this American side is for real.

Two weeks ago, most people wouldn’t have been able to pick out the likes of Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey from a crowd. Now, people who have never seen a soccer game have become transfixed to the television sets when the U.S. takes the pitch.

Hey, American sport fans love a winner. Is there a hotter team in the country right now?

With every goal they score and win they capture, they are changing the outlook of the game in the U.S.

The total package for permanent change is here.

The ESPN channels are keeping constant coverage of all World Cup games. The NHL and NBA finals are over and all there is on TV now is World Cup, baseball and golf.

Not much in the way of viewers tuning into the constant action from South Africa.

Did I mention the U.S. is winning right now?

The U.S. has gone through to the knockout round of 16 as winners of Group C, ahead of the mighty English side. Not to mention that they received a favorable draw and the quarterfinals and beyond don’t look so distant.

What better way to announce their arrival to the world by making a long run into the quarters, semifinals or even… hey, why not?

It only helps that the group chosen to represent their country is full of humble and down to earth players who put their team and country before the name on the back of the jersey they wear. On top of that, the Americans play a blue-collar style that has a never say die attitude.

Just look at the win against Algeria on June 23.

One thing the game of soccer always catches flack for is the boring, low scoring affairs between the two sides. The 1-0 victory the Americans enjoyed came on the wings of one of the most back and forth tilts ever in the World Cup, with everything at stake for both sides. The game had everything to make soccer fanatics and regular bandwagon-ers go ballistic.

The perfect storm is upon us. Constant coverage, no other sports to compete with and a U.S. team who seem to have a bit of destiny on their side. Perhaps the ordinary group of players who have made their presence known have an extraordinary fate.

One in which the whole country is now eager to be apart of and cheer on.

Take notice world – the Yanks are coming

June 29, 2010 Taylor Hall

Bankruptcy is usually the last way out for most groups and is often seen as a worst possible outcome. Upon declaring for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 5, The Dome in Anchorage sees its move as a necessary and positive step in the right direction. “It was the only way to make sure The…

June 1, 2010 Taylor Hall

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“King James,” “Sid the Kid” and “Alexander the Great.” All nicknames of superstars in their respective sports; all of them with tremendous bankrolls and larger than life images; all of them possess countless individual accolades and records. None of them will win a championship this year. After stellar seasons by each of them, none of…

June 1, 2010 Taylor Hall

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With the sun staying up later and later and the Alaskan summer in full effect, it must be time for the 2010 Alaska Baseball League campaign to start up. For years, some of the best college players from around the country flock up to Alaska to play for one of six teams in a league…

May 28, 2010 Taylor Hall

Nine conference titles. 14 All-GNAC performances. Nine GNAC All-Academic selections. Things look pretty good for the Seawolf Track and Field team who finished up the GNAC Championships May 14-15 in record fashion. “The team competed very strongly,” TJ Garlatz said, UAA assistant Track and Field coach. “Obviously, we’re a small team, but we won all…

April 27, 2010 Taylor Hall

Men’s basketball

Men’s basketball finished up their 2009-10 season. Despite being competitive all year long, the young Seawolf squad finished up in 9th place in the West Region and barely missed out on a return trip to the NCAA Division II postseason. Still, there was much to be proud of and build on for the next season. The team had its fifth straight winning season under Head Coach Rusty Osbourne. They also had a strong showing in the Shootout and even defeated Division I Nicholls State 72-58. We can’t forget the season sweep of in-state rival UAF as well. Individually, junior Brandon Walker finished up his stellar year with All-GNAC 1st team honors. All of this came with no seniors on the team. Look for an even more dangerous and mature team next year as they look to be a strong contender in the GNAC.

Women’s basketball

The women’s basketball team kept up their winning ways in the 2009-10 season. The team marched back into the West Region postseason behind a spectacular play from team MVP senior Tamar Gruwell and “Most Improved Player” sophomore Hanna Johansson. Gruwell averaged 11.1 points and 3.0 boards per contest while Johansson pitched in 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. Their bid for a third straight trip to the Elite Eight came up short when they were beat by Seattle Pacific in the second round of the West Regionals. The Seawolves also took home their fourth straight Shootout title by defeating Big East representative Cincinnati 49-48 in a fantastic championship game.

Cross-country running

The teams built on their success from last year and continued to put UAA’s stamp on the West Region. The women’s team went undefeated during the regular season and ended up claiming their first GNAC and West Region titles. They then went on finish fifth at the NCAA Championships. The duo of sophomore Ruth Keino and freshman Miriam Kipng’Eno led the way all year long and took home All-American honors at seasons end. On the men’s side, the All-American freshman Micah Chelimo helped pave the way to a runner-up finish in the GNAC and third place finish in the West Regionals. Head Coach Michael Friess was named the women’s GNAC and West Region Coach of the Year

Gymnastics

The Seawolves gymnastics’ team faced a tough title-defense year. Injuries to key athletes like juniors Leah Wilson and Kristy Boswell dampened the team’s chances at a repeat performance. When all was said and done, the Seawolves still performed well at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships by posting a season best 190.725-team score. The effort was good enough to land six UAA spots on the All-MPSF squad, including two apiece for sophomore Shakea Sanders and senior Courtney Williams. The Seawolves also featured nine athletes on the MPSF All-Academic Team, the most in the conference.

Hockey

The UAA hockey team finished up a tough year at 11-23-5 overall and 9-17-2 in the highly competitive WCHA. The ‘Wolves came up short in their bid to win their fourth straight Governor’s Cup over the UAF Nanooks. The Seawolves also had to watch the Nanooks skate off with the Kendall Hockey Classic title once again to start the season. The Seawolves saw one of the most brilliant seasons out of senior Kevin Clark who rewrote the history books after the season. He led the team in goals (23), points (37), shots (113) and penalty minutes (89). The Seawolves placed 10 skaters on the WCHA All-Academic team, the most ever for the program. Since the season ended, the green and gold watched as five different skaters went on to play professionally, including Clark.

Skiing

The UAA skiers finished a program-best 2nd place in the Western Regional before going on to a 7th place performance at the NCAA Championships. At the championships, freshman Andreas Adde led the way for the Seawolves by claiming the National Championship in the men’s slalom competition. In all, six All-American honors were claimed by the Seawolves, including two by Adde. “Most Improved Skier” sophomore was stellar all season long, leading up to her 8th place finish in the 15K freestyle event at the NCAA’s. As a team, the Seawolves had five 1st place finishes and 19 top-five results.

Volleyball

The UAA volleyball team finished the 2009-10 campaign in record fashion. Their best season ever saw them go 23-8 overall and win their first GNAC title. The Seawolves used a record-breaking 13 straight victories in the season to vault them into the postseason. The Seawolves also won their first ever NCAA Tournament match by defeating Hawaii Hilo in five sets. The team also repeated as the Extended Stay Deluxe Invitational champs. Awards were aplenty for the whole team. Senior Cali Scott won GNAC Player of the Year, a first in the program since 1992. Sophomore Jackie Matthisen and junior Cortney Lundberg took home 1st and 2nd team All-GNAC honors. Second year head Coach Chris Green won the GNAC and West Region Coach of the Year award. All of this came after the Seawolves were picked to finish 7th in the conference.

Track and Field

The 2009 track and field team continued their rising reputation by watching 10 runners qualify for the NCAA Championships. Marko Cheseto led the pack with two All-American awards in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter events. Joining him was David Kiplagat (3,000m steeplechase), ‘08 National Champion David Registe (long jump) and Shaun Ward (400m hurdles), who all took home All-American awards as well. The men’s team took 14th in the NCAA Championships team competition.

So far in the 2010 season, the team looks poised at making more noise in the GNAC and at the NCAA’s. The ‘Wolves are without the services of Registe and Ward, who both were forced to redshirt due to injuries. To date, the Seawolves have already seen six different athletes automatically qualify for this years NCAA’s. They include Ruth Keino (women’s 5,000m and 10,000m), Alfred Kangogo (men’s 3,000m steeplechase), Demietrius Preston (men’s long jump), Micah Chelimo (men’s 3,000m steeplechase), Miriam Kipng’Eno (women’s 5,000m) and Laura Carr (women’s 10,000m).