For the University of Alaska Anchorage volleyball team, the best conference start in team history only lasted so long.
After starting the season 2-0 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the Seawolves’ (8-4 overall, 2-2 GNAC) first trip down south was a heartbreaker. UAA lost two close matches to Northwest Nazarene (7-3, 2-2) and Seattle University (5-7, 3-1) to bring their conference record down to the .500 mark.
The first tilt on Sept. 16 in Nampa, Idaho was a classic back and forth struggle with both squads trading wins until the Crusaders took the match-deciding fifth game by two points. Lindsay Miller dominated the Seawolves with a match-best 28 kills and 22 digs in the Crusaders 15-30, 30-16, 27-30, 30-27, 16-14 victory.
The Seawolves outside hitters had big games as junior Carolyn DeKay slammed 20 kills and senior captain Jenny Mitchell had 11 while setter Stephanie Martinez led UAA with 46 assists. Mindy Lindquist and Katina Ozrelic chipped in five blocks each defensively.
The Seawolves started strong in Seattle on Sept. 18 by taking the first game but UAA got shellacked in the second game by 19 points. The Seawolves made a valiant push but dropped the final two games by a combined four points to lose the match 24-30, 30-11, 34-32, 31-29.
The failed rally featured some excellent defense from UAA’s back row. Redshirt freshman libero Rachel Knecht had 29 digs with Diana Gordon right behind with 24. DeKay (15 kills) and Mitchell (11 kills) led the way again but were matched by Redhawk Sarah Sommerman’s 26 kills.
The UAA front row was outblocked (4-2) for the first time this season as Seattle doubled the Seawolves stuffs.
UAA limps home to the Wells Fargo Sports Complex with a chance to right the ship in matches against undefeated Central Washington (Sept. 24) and lowly Saint Martin’s (Sept. 25).