If there was any lingering disappointment in the hearts of UAA’s volleyball team Saturday night following their loss to Western Washington 48 hours earlier – it didn’t show. The Seawolves (16-2, 8-2 GNAC) took care of business Saturday night when they hosted Simon Fraser University (9-9, 5-5 GNAC) – winning 25-15, 25-9, 25-23. The win kept the Seawolves in a three-way stalemate for second place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings with Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington.
“The girls responded well,” Seawolf head coach Chris Green said, “I’m very proud of them coming out and getting a good win tonight.”
The Seawolves dictated the flow of the game in the first and second sets. Coach Green complemented his blockers for making life tough on the Clan’s front line, who had no choice but to send the ball in the direction of the freshman libero Taylor Noga. In response, the former East Anchorage Thunderbird had a career-game for herself. Noga finished with a career-high 19 digs in her second straight start at libero.
“I think we knew what they were going to do in each rotation, and they didn’t fool us,” coach Green said, “Our block did a really good job of slowing them down and frustrating them.”
Following the Clans’ loss in the first set, the squad from British Columbia received a tough break in the second set. With the set tied at 3-3, Clan senior Jessica Young went down with an ankle sprain. The senior outside hitter was visibly shaken-up as she sat on the court following the fateful play. Young had five of the Clans’ 10 kills up to that point in the game.
Later in the set, the Seawolves went on a 10-2 run, showcasing its commendable teamwork fans have become accustomed to seeing this season. By the end of the second set, Julia Mackey had already racked up nine kills, putting her within arms-reach (three away) of hitting the 1,000 career kills mark by the end of the match.
With the Seawolves leading the third set 15-14, Mackey hammered her 12th kill of the game – reaching the 4-figure milestone. The Service High School volleyball team jumped up and screamed for their hero and friend upon the play (most of the fans were just cheering for a Seawolf point). Mackey’s teammate Katelynn Zanders’ has sisters on the Lady Cougars, and she said their team wanted to cheer on her achievement like they had for Zanders last November.
“They did a really good job when Katelynn got 1,000 (kills), so they’ve been there throughout our Seawolves career,” Mackey said of the Lady Cougars.
The Clan was led by freshman middle blocker Tessa May who finished the game with seven kills and two blocks. Simon Fraser went on a 9-1 run in the third set, sending a wave of uneasiness among fans, and were in it until the very end. However the Seawolves’ Erin Braun made two plays at the end of the set to help her team to send the Clan packing.
The Seawolves welcome the Alaska Nanooks to the Alaska Airlines Center tomorrow for a rare Tuesday night home game. The Nanooks are on a 4-game losing streak, and are in a 3-way tie for 5th in the GNAC standings.