Following a first win back on Alaska ground on Thursday, UAA lined up again in the Alaska Airlines Center two days later to play against Concordia University.
While the Seawolves continued to stay in the spotlight with their undefeated conference status and school record 16 game win steak, Concordia was making it by with a 4-3 record in the conference. Freshman Vanessa Hayes realized that a record doesn’t always mean everything but it also shouldn’t determine how your team should play.
“I’ve never seen them play but I hear that they’re a pretty good team this year. We just have to handle business on our side of the net,” Hayes said.
The Seawolves started off strong against their rivals. They debuted in set one by obtaining an immediate lead. Senior setter Morgan Hooe relinquished her power with a kill right away, assisted by senior Leah Swiss. Afterwards, with a lead almost double Concordia’s score, Diana Fa’amausili and Swiss took over the kills while Hooe stepped back as setter to assist them.
With a lot of positive energy on the Seawolves side of the court, they continued to increase their lead in set one. Swiss and Fa’amausili continued to rack up the kills, while sophomore libero Kyla Militante-Amper held everything together in the back diving down dig after dig.
For the Seawolves set winning point, Concordia lined up to serve. For an easy win, the serve went out of bounds, putting UAA at 25-15.
Jumping into set two, the Seawolves were put into an immediate lead due to a service error from Concordia, but their lead did drop from there.
Militante-Amper got up to serve and successfully pulled 4 points out of them until an attack error on the Seawolves’ side. Next, showing off their superb defense skills, UAA only let Concordia get one serve over the net until the ball was back in their possession.
Half way through the set, Fa’amausili and Hooe debuted several kills of their own, letting the Seawolves sit at a comfortable 7 point lead.
Nearing the end of set two, Swiss was up to serve. Impressively, not one or two, but all three of Swiss’ final serves resulted in a service ace, giving the Seawolves the final set winning points. Final score of set two being 25-14.
At halftime, both teams took a break to recover and strategize the third, and final, set of the game. During this time, the Seawolves recounted the fact that that they lost several strong seniors from the previous season and how important it is that they can’t dwell on that.
Instead of reminiscing about the team from last year the players needed to work together with each other and the new players to win the games they needed. Hooe being a senior and star player of the team knew this to be true and realized a common attitude that her teammates have taken.
“I’m not harping on you for your position, I’m just harping on you in order for you to be better and for this team to be better,” Hooe said at halftime.
After taking a well-needed rest, set three was jump started with serves from Hooe. Rallying back and forth, the Seawolves were able to get a couple points off Concordia’s errors.
With the scores staying close together, most of the points earned on either side of the court was due to errors by their rivals. Outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson stood out several times taking an offensive stance and getting some kills over the net. Eventually joined by Fa’amausili, the two made several more kills over the net to get a relatively safe lead.
Not for long though, before the errors on UAA’s side started to add up. Close to finishing off the set but Concordia continued to gain on them.
Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Noga finally stepped up the serve, making 3 serves over all while getting points on errors from Concordia. Again, Johnson stepped into the picture and got a kill over the net to put the Seawolves at game point. To end the game off, Hooe set the ball back over to Fa’amausili to get in a kill and leave the Seawolves at 25-18.
After playing and witnessing how well the season has gone Johnson knew this was important.
“The chemistry is just there. It’s nice when we can convert how we work together at practice and make that happen here on the court,” Johnson said.
Finishing off the weekend, the Seawolves managed to pull through another 3-0 win. This win added up to be the astonishing 17th in their streak. How the players work together on and off the court is very important and this is an aspect that the Seawolves have come to strength with.