After a rather long break compared to most other weekends — not having competed since Tuesday — the Seawolves took flight again to Montana on Saturday, Oct. 1. In a positive start to a new month, the Seawolves won their first game of the month, beating MSB 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, and 25-18). Continuing their top seed placement in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the Seawolves added another win to their now 6-0 conference streak and 16-1 overall streak. In addition, the Seawolves still place at number 10 in the entire Division II.
On the other hand, Montana State Billings came into the match as the 10th rank in the GNAC, a now 1-4 conference streak, and 2-12 overall streak. Not even placing in the top 25 of Division II, UAA came in with an advantage over MSB, but like the team approached University of Alaska, Fairbanks last Tuesday, freshman Vanessa Hayes and the rest of the team knew that “[they] must always be prepared to battle against [their] opponents best game,” said Hayes.
Using that approach, the Seawolves started out set 1 strong with serves from sophomore outside hitter Leah Swiss. Montana State started out with an early lead, the Seawolves stayed only a couple points behind. A block from sophomore Chrisalyn Johnson puts UAA in a lead, but only for a minute. Again, just bobbing back and forth with points, senior setter Morgan Hooe sent the ball over with a tip to pull UAA ahead.
Only halfway through set one and the Seawolves were still even with the MSB Yellowjackets. With already several digs from libero Kyla Militante-Amper and many assists from Hooe, the team worked together to keep the ball in the air and everyone on their feet.
Like previously said by Hayes, the Seawolves saw that even with such a difference in conference ranks, any team can play their best game against them and put them to a test.
Approaching the end of the set the Seawolves still had a very close lead over MSB giving them very little flexibility for the several attacks and serve errors that occurred throughout the set. Freshman middle blocker Diana Fa’amausili came through to help finish off the set with a couple kills, assisted by Hooe. To finish off the set with a small lead, the Seawolves closed it up with a final set score of 25-20. In just the first set, UAA accumulated 11 kills, 10 assists, and 14 digs. On the other hand, MSB finished off with 7 kills, 7 assists, and 13 digs.
In an attempt to redeem themselves from the close set one, the Seawolves start off set two with a kill from Johnson, assisted by Hooe. Again, similar to set one, both UAA and MSB equal out the scores and toggle back and forth between the lead.
A couple attack errors set UAA behind a couple points but serves from sophomore outside hitter Taylor Noga and a kill from Johnson put them in a temporary lead. Again, several attack errors let the Yellowjackets back into the lead. Swiss dove down for a 6th dig of the night to keep the Seawolves in their lead, while Johnson and senior middle blocker Erin Braun both shot down several more kills.
After a brief timeout, UAA came back to the set with a 5 point lead, halfway through the set. After serves from Miliante-Amper, the Seawolves managed to increase their lead even further. With now more than 14 assists in the game, Hooe lead Johnson to several more kills, giving them a 7 point lead, nearing the end of set two.
Closing up the set, MSB serves to give UAA a kill by Swiss, leading the Seawolves up to the game point. A final kill by Johnson gives UAA the second win of the night, 25-21. After finishing this setup, UAA accumulated 8 more kills, 6 more assists, and 17 more digs.
At halftime, UAA collected a total of 20 kills and 31 digs for the night, while their MSUB rivals collected 21 kills and 29 digs. Already up 2-0, the Seawolves just need to finish the final set off to win the game.
Set three started out slow for UAA, with MSB taking the lead quick. Again, like the previous 2 sets, both teams stayed at a nearly constant tie. Due to attack errors on the Seawolves side, the Yellowjackets were able to pull ahead in a temporary lead.
Although still in the lead, the Seawolves gave up several points due to offensive attack errors. To redeem themselves, Braun provides a couple more blocks to bounce back on the Yellowjackets, while Hooe sets up Johnson for 2 more kills.
With a slight lead over the Yellowjackets, MSB called for a timeout before Braun stepped up to the line to make a couple serves. In an attempt to win the final set, Hooe sets up Johnson for two more kills. MSUB then made an attack error to bring UAA closer to a win. For the game winning point, Hooe set up Fa’amausili for a final kill.
In set three, UAA beat MSB 25-18.
For several highlights of the night, Hooe was able to rack up a total of 29 assists and 8 digs, Swiss with 9 kills and 13 digs, Militante-Amper with 21 digs and Fa’amausili with 8 kills and 5 blocks.
To add to their undefeated status in the conference and now 16-1 overall streak, the Seawolves finished their game vs. MSB 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-18).