Seawolf volleyball gains two more wins for the season

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Setter Madison Fisher goes for a bump in Saturday, Sept. 23 game against Seattle Pacific University. Fisher tallied 20 assists on Thursday, Sept. 21 against Saint Martin’s and 29 on Saturday against SPU. Photo credit: Skip Hickey

Back in Anchorage after a previous weekend in Montana, the Seawolves took on Saint Martin’s and Seattle Pacific for two home games at the Alaska Airlines Center.

After a weekend away, the Seawolves and sophomore setter Madison Fisher is glad to have a couple home games.

“We’ve talked about the love that we receive when we’re at home and it’s unreal being in a gym with that much energy from the crowd, it’s real fun to play [a game in],” said Fisher.

With an overall advantage, the Seawolves had a previous record against Saint Martin’s with 30 wins and only lost 4. The match took place on Thursday, Sept. 21 to give UAA the first win of the weekend. In addition, it extended the Seawolves win steak against Saint Martin’s to 19.

A successful game for two of the teams main starters, Leah Swiss and Chrisalyn Johnson all boasted impressive stats.

Swiss, a junior outside hitter, managed to surface 13 kills in the 3-set match, only trailed by Johnson, also a junior outside hitter, who managed 7 over the course of the night.

Johnson also played a critical role in digs, blocks and aces, tallying up nine, four and two, respectively.

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The successes of those two critical starters let the Seawolves start out the match strong with an initial victory of 25-7 in the first set, followed by 25-19 and an overtime set of 27-25.

Leah Swiss tips the ball past Seattle Pacific’s block. Photo Credit: Jay Guzman

Saint Martin’s followed closely in the third set, until only behind by 1 point at 19-18, they scored 6 points in a row giving the Seawolves a scare. However, those 6 points were the final ones of the night for Saint Martin’s, UAA returned with a set of 6 points of their own.

To finish the game off, Diana Fa’amausill finished the set with 6 kills while freshmen middle blocker Vera Pluharova pulled in six block assists.

Fisher, a setter from Colorado, also contributed the Thursday’s win. With 20 assists and 12 digs, Fisher is stepping into the place of former all-star setter Morgan Hooe.

The Seawolves continued their weekend homes game with a win against Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

However, Saturday’s game wasn’t any ordinary game. The second annual ‘Dig for Liz’ night took place during the game against Seattle Pacific University. The event night gives fans the opportunity to donate to the Liz Hooe Memorial Scholarship fund, mother of former UAA volleyball start Morgan Hooe, which then is directed to a deserving UAA volleyball player.

“Well Liz was Morgan’s mom and I think its a great tribute to her and Virgil, who is on our coaching staff. I think cancer awareness in sporting events is a great way to make people aware of what they can and need to do and we are happy to be a part of that,” Head Coach Chris Green said.

The Seawolves were treated to a four-set night against the team who had a 28 wins to 22 losses against the Seawolves. The sets, all extremely close, gave SPU an additional loss against the Seawolves, 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22. The Falcons haven’t won a regular season game against the Seawolves since November 2012.

“I don’t think we can overlook any team in GNAC. I think they all have a place and a role and we need to come in focused and play our game to be able to do what we want to do,” Fisher said.

After 52 total matches between the two teams in program history, the Seawolves continued their streak by making Saturday’s game their ninth win in a row, fifth in Anchorage.

The Seawolves played aggressive from the very beginning, cruising thought set on and managing a temporary 5 point lead in set two when sophomore middle blocker Vanessa Hayes got a kill in set for a 19-14 lead.

After a solid beginning, Green was impressed by the plays of the starters.

“Set one, that is definitely the team that we need to put out on the court every time,” Green said.

Only a temporary lead, until Seattle Pacific rallied back with 6 straight points to tie the game at 21-21. To save the set, Fa’amausili and junior middle blocker Tara Melton took charge with several kills to win the second set of the night.

Chrisalyn Johnson jumps up for the kill finishing with game with 16 kills along with Diana Fa’amausili. Photo Credit: Jay Guzman

Again, starters Johnson, Fa’amausili and Swiss revealed some impressive stats to finish off the night.

Johnson and Fa’amausili managaed in tie in number of kills for the night, with 16 each, close to being a match-high, only behind SPU’s Gabby Oddo who managed 18.

In addition, Swiss tallied up 12 kills, 14 digs and 4 aces to be in a successful position all around the court.

The first two set wins only lead to a minor setback in the third set when the Seawolves encountered five different ties and two lead changes, ultimately leading to the Seawolves falling behind by 3 points.

Set three only proved to be a minor upset, until coming back in the fourth set with 14 kills total and only 2 errors, rallying over Seattle Pacific’s 12 kills and 6 errors.

Despite difficulties, Green and the Seawolves realized the two back-to-back wins let them finish off the weekend successfully.

“We serve aggressively, but unfortunately this is one of the nights when it almost came back to hurt us, luckily we showed enough poise at the right times in the fourth set to pull out the win,” Green said.

Associate Head Coach Sheldon Carvalho huddles with the volleyball team during a timeout. Photo Credit: Jay Guzman

As the season moves forward in full blast, Green and the rest of the team is aware of what lies ahead.

“We’re looking forward to those heated rivalry matches, such as NNU, those games are going to be tough, but definitely a lot of fun,” Fisher said.

UAA volleyball continues their season in Nampa, Idaho and Ellensburg, Washington this weekend against Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington, respectively.