The Seawolves were in for another highly contested NCAA Div. II West Regional game last Saturday night when they faced off against Cal State San Bernardino. This time though, there was no dog pile at center court after the final point, just disillusioned looks, some teary eyes and one tired bunch of college volleyball players. UAA was defeated 26-28, 21-25, 25-17, 25-16, 15-12 by the powerhouse Coyotes out of Southern California, bringing to an end to the most successful season in program history.
With Katelynn Zanders watching from the bench — Mizuno sneaker on one foot and walking boot on the other, freshman Leah Swiss carried most of the load for the Seawolves with a career-high 25 kills. Caitlin Hanson and Julia Mackey combined for 25 kills and 5 blocks in their final games as Seawolves. Meanwhile, outside hitter Alexandra Torline put her team on her back, sending 20 kills over the net over the final three sets alone. San Bernardino’s Lauren Nicholson and Jayann DeHoog were also locked in. Nicholson finished with 21 kills and 15 digs and DeHoog had 62 assists.
The Seawolves saw a two set lead disappear as the Coyotes began put up points, quickly. San Bernardino went on a 14-4 run in the third set, giving them a comfortable lead that made UAA’s 5-1 run later in the set look cute.The Coyotes hit over over .400 in the fourth set to tie the match at 2-2 — holding the entire Alaska Airlines Center hostage — putting on a clinic in passing and hitting while erasing UAA’s lead. The Seawolves last chance came to recover came in the fifth set, but once again it was the Coyotes who jumped out to an early lead that would hold up.
Cal State San Bernardino lost the following night to Western Washington in the championship game.
The San Bernardino club has been one of the most dominant Div. II volleyball programs in the country over the last 15 years, losing in the national championship games in 2008 and 2011.
With a 27-3 overall record, including 14-2 at home, the UAA volleyball team brought plenty of excitement to campus over the past three months.
“I think we made a bunch of volleyball fans this season and hopefully they come back next year to watch us play,” Green said.
Zanders and Mackey will go down as two of the most decorated Seawolves in program history. Zanders was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year at the end the regular season while Julia Mackey was named First-Team All-GNAC for the fourth time in her career. Over the past four season, the two have been major offensive contributors. Zanders’ 1,392 career kills ranks second in Seawolf history while Mackey’s 1,130 ranks fifth.