While most UAA athletic teams are just wrapping up their 2018-19 season, volleyball will be the first to begin their 2019-20 season in just a few months. With the season debut closing in, head coach Chris Green is working hard to revamp his roster with new players and new coaching staff.
There are currently six official letter of intent signees joining the team and two assistant coaches added to the staff.
The incoming roster includes players from both Alaska and Hawaii. Julia Fetko, from Anchorage, will be joining the team after a standout high school season as a setter at Service High School. Mia Ekstrand, another Alaskan, is joining the team after a successful career at Dimond High School. The third local athlete is Emma Kleven, originally from South High School. Kleven already started training with the team after transferring to UAA in January.
Green was excited to have another local recruit join the team. However, he explained that Fetko will most likely transition into a libero or defensive specialist for her collegiate career rather than playing setter.
The second Alaska recruit, Ekstrand, will be joining the Seawolves as an outside hitter.
“I’ve wanted to play at UAA since I was young. I’d love watching their games. I actually remember writing an essay in my 7th-grade class about how much I wanted to play for UAA. I was lucky enough to have Coach Green reach out to me this fall with the opportunity to be a part of the program,” Ekstrand said.
At Dimond, she played three seasons at the varsity level, helping the Lynx to a 4A state title in 2018. At the time, she averaged a .243 attack percentage, 2.41 kills and 3.29 digs per set.
“Only a few people can say they played for a program who won four state titles all while I was a part of the program. I was blessed enough with such a talented group of girls and coaching staff,” Ekstrand said. “Without them, I don’t think I’d be able to play with such high caliber team like the Seawolves.”
Kleven is the third local that has already joined the Seawolves as a transfer.
She started her collegiate career at Notre Dame de Namur in a Division II program, where she played for two years. During her time there she played as a setter, averaging 8.10 assists and 2.68 digs per set during her starter role in her sophomore year.
Prior to that, Kleven made significant contributions during her playing time at South High, including helping her team to a 4A state runner-up finish during her senior year.
Green explained that Kleven will play an instrumental role at UAA after the departure of former setter Casey Davenport.
As for the Hawaiians, Nohokula Lind is coming to Alaska from Hana, Nina MacPhetrigde is joining from Makawao and Makana Eleneki is leaving Kailua to join the Seawolves.
Eleneki will be joining the Seawolves as a setter as well. The Kailua local made significant contributions on her club team rather than playing at her high school during her senior year.
“Some players are choosing club volleyball over high school volleyball, and honing their skills just as well. Watching her play in person, we’ve been impressed with her setting skills and her all-around defensive presence,” Green said.
MacPhetridge will also be joining Eleneki from Hawaii. In contrast, MacPhetridge finished off her pre-college season at her high school, including a standout set with 13 kills and 5 blocks.
Lind is the third Hawaiian joining the team so far. From Hana, Maui, she helped her team to the state tournament twice and was named 2016 MIL Division II Player of the Year.
In addition to the new players, Green added two former players to the coaching staff as assistant coaches. Stacie Meisner played for UAA in 2008-09 while Brooke Pottle played more recently in 2013 and 2014.
Meisner helped coach the team last year as a graduate assistant but has now been promoted to top assistant coach, replacing former associate head coach Sheldon Carvalho.
During her time playing for UAA, she helped the Seawolves win their first GNAC title and reach the NCAA Tournament. She was also honored with academic All-Conference and All-GNAC honorable mention.
Pottle will also be joining the Seawolves as an assistant after serving as junior varsity volleyball coach at Service High School last year.
Previously, Pottle played for UAA as an outside hitter and helped the team to two NCAA tournaments.
The Seawolves will be continuing to add recruits in the coming months and will be back in action in August.