Last week, the Seawolf volleyball team traveled to Washington to compete against their first two Great Northwest Athletic Conference rivals, winning both games.
They first met Seattle Pacific on the court at the Royal Brougham Pavilion, winning 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-11) Two days later, they traveled to the Marcus Pavilion to compete against Saint Martin’s, winning 3-1 (25-12, 25-19, 23-25, 25-20).
Sophomore setter Ellen Floyd helped carry the team through both games, with 29 assists against Seattle Pacific and a season-high 52 assists against Saint Martin’s.
Using Floyd’s consistency, senior Vanessa Hayes and sophomore Eve Stephens carried the offensive team through both games.
Against SPU, Hayes accumulated 11 kills while Stephens managed seven. They helped improve the Seawolves’ average for the night to outhit their rivals, .375 to .052, respectively.
Head coach Chris Green was aware of Seattle Pacific’s errors and used it to the Seawolves’ advantage.
“We were efficient and did a fantastic job of making SPU pay for its mistakes tonight. I thought we executed our offense with a level of confidence that I hadn’t yet seen this season, so that’s very encouraging as well,” Green said.
The Seawolves made a total of just five errors during the night, in contrast to Seattle Pacific’s 24 errors.
In addition, while the Seawolves made eight blocks and five aces, SPU managed just one of each.
Moving into their match against Saint Martin’s, the Seawolves were tested a bit more, but still managed to come out with the win. This extended UAA’s win streak against Saint Martin’s to a total of 23 in a row.
“Fortunately, we played well enough in the fourth set to get the win. Ellen [Floyd] made some good decisions on her sets, and Eve [Stephens] kept coming through with big kill after big kill. We are happy to be 2-0 in the league, especially with our first three matches being on the road,” Green said.
Stephens continued to carry the team with kills, tying her career-high with a total of 23 kills, also helping to name her GNAC’s kill leader. She helped propel the team above Saint Martin’s with a .284 hit average, ahead of SMU’s .059.
Junior middle blocker Kayla McGlathery contributed to the Seawolves’ offense by collecting 12 kills for the night, being UAA’s second leader in kills, behind Stephens. Hayes came in as third, collecting seven kills for the night, but also managing to earn four aces and one assist.
In addition, after coming back from an injury that kept her out of the season so far, sophomore libero Talia Leauanae solidified a new career-high in digs, accumulating 16 for the night. She also made two assists.
After the GNAC opening weekend, the Seawolves currently sit in a four-way tie for first in the conference, along with UAF, Montana State Billings and Western Washington. All four teams have an undefeated 2-0 record.
The Seawolves will continue their GNAC competition with a game against UAF on Sept. 24 and a game against Montana State Billings on Sept. 28.
For a full UAA volleyball schedule, visit www.goseawolves.com.