The No. 11 Seawolves put on a clinic Thursday night at the Alaska Airlines Center, defeating Montana State Billings in straight sets, 25-11, 25-10, 25-13, to remain unbeaten on the season. At 12-0, this year’s volleyball squad is off to the hottest start in program history, with no signs of slowing down any time soon.
“We had a quick turnaround – we played Fairbanks on Tuesday night,” said Coach Green postgame. “So with one good night of sleep, I think the girls played pretty well.”
Outside hitter Leah Swiss played perhaps her best game of her freshman campaign, stuffing the stat sheet with 9 kills, 10 digs and 6 aces. Fellow starter Morgan Hooe dished out 30 assists on the night, setting the ball high and low, in front of her and behind. Hooe, a former South Anchorage Wolverine, has proven herself as an elite setter this season — leading the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with just over 11 assists per set.
About half of the junior’s assists were sent in the direction of seniors Katelynn Zanders and Julia Mackey, who set bullets to the opposition’s floor for much of the night. The supporting cast also played well, in particular middle blockers Erin Braun and Caitlin Hanson. Braun recorded 7 kills and Hanson chipped in 5 kills and a team-high 6 block assists.
With the defeat, Montana State Billings falls to 1-10, and 0-3 in GNAC matches. The Yellowjackets suffered a negative hitting percentage (-0.060), which happens when a team accumulates more attack errors than kills. MSU-Billings Ashlynn Ward did all she could to prevent that statistic, leading her team with 6 kills.
The Yellowjackets weakened offense was in large part due to the Seawolves serving. The Seawolves used 9 aces and a number other well-placed serves to gain advantages quickly in each set. The Yellowjackets did dig 27 of UAA’s serves, but some of them flew right back over the net for easy Seawolf kills.
“I think that’s a big part of the game because it starts the play,” Swiss said of serving. “If they can’t get a pretty good pass, than it’s a pretty easy ball to dig, or they just end up hitting it out and making an error.”
And how the Yellowjackets wished they could have shored up some of their 22 attack errors.
The Seawolves can begin to rest up for next week’s home GNAC contests against Seattle Pacific (Oct. 1) and Saint Martin’s (Oct.3). Even though both SPU and Saint Martin’s have losing records, Swiss isn’t writing them off as threats to their perfect record.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re 12-0, its 0-0 when you get on the court.”
Both games start at 7:00 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center. Students are given free admission to all home games with a valid Wolfcard. The general public can purchase game tickets for $10 online or at the door. UAA faculty and youth receive a $2 discount.