Seawolves rally to take out Nanooks

Sarah Johnson, a freshmen outside hitter, dives for the volleyball during Saturday’s game. (Photos by Caitlin Taylor)

The Seawolf volleyball team put their heart on display Saturday night. Down two sets to none, they rallied back to defeat the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks in a thriller.

The Seawolves didn’t let a poor start decide the game. After giving up the first two sets, they pushed the Nanooks into deep water and claimed a 25-22, 25-22, 17-25, 20-25, 10-15 victory.

Freshman outside hitter Sarah Johnson had a monster outing, racking up 24 kills and 24 digs. Freshman outside hitter Katelynn Zanders finished second on the team with 14 kills.

The Seawolves lapped the Nanooks in blocks, totaling 11 to the Nanooks’ 5. They also bettered the Nanooks in kills, assists and digs.

Senior setter Kimya Jafroudi tallied 59 assists and 12 digs. But one of her most important contributions didn’t show up on the stat sheet.

Freshman outside hitter Julia Mackey, who had 13 kills for the Seawolves, said Jafroudi helped keep her stay focused during the close game.

Siobhan Johansen, setter and defensive specialist vollies the ball.

“Our setter Kimya keeps me in the game,” said Mackey. “She’s always saying get this next point. You get (the win) one point at a time.”

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In such a tight game, having a vocal leader like Jafroudi is essential. Reminding the players to take things one step at a time can be the difference between the Seawolves falling to a 0-3 loss instead of their 3-2 win.

Beating the Nanooks has put the Seawolves at 9-4 overall and 4-1 in conference play. Mackey believes the come-from-behind win over their in-state rival has given the Seawolves something to build on.

“We’re going to go into the next conference game and play like we played in the last three sets,” said Mackey.

If the Seawolves can maintain the level of play they showed in the last threes sets, there’s no reason the GNAC title can’t be theirs.

The Seawolves continue their home stretch with a game against Simon Fraser University Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center at 7 p.m. They will then meet Western Washington University Saturday at the same time and place.

UAA fans cheer exuberantly for the Seawolves at Saturday’s volleyball game.