The Seawolf volleyball team kicked off their first regular-season games with the Seawolf Invitational on Sept. 5-7.
UAA hosted four out-of-state teams — Regis University, Concord, UC San Diego and Biola — at the Alaska Airlines Center for a season-opening tournament. None of the visiting teams are a part of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. However, both Biola and UC San Diego are West Regional competitors.
The Seawolves were able to compete against all their visitors, starting with Regis University on Sept. 5, Concord and Biola on Sept. 6 and ending with UC San Diego on Sept. 7.
UAA started off slow with a 2-3 loss against Regis. However, things started looking up with two back-to-back wins before a second loss to UC San Diego.
Despite the loss, the Seawolves were able to make many individual achievements in their season opener. Sophomore right-side hitter Eve Stephens solidified 19 kills during the night for a team-high, followed by senior outside hitter Vanessa Hayes with 17. Hayes also managed a career-high five aces.
However, the Seawolves cost themselves a win by making a total of 34 errors during the five sets, while Regis made just 19.
“Regis did an excellent job of forcing some mistakes by our hitters tonight, but that is still no excuse for committing so many errors, especially our 17 service errors,” UAA head coach Chris Green said.
The Seawolves used their season-opening game as a learning experience and motivation for their battle against Concord. In a short three sets, 25-8, 25-12 and 25-12, UAA reigned over the Mountain Lions for their first win of the season.
Hayes and Stephens worked together to again carry the Seawolves’ offensive team, making a total of 11 kills each. Overall, UAA made a total of 37 kills to significantly out-number Concord’s 13 kills. In addition, the Seawolves finished with a .444 hitting percentage, the third-highest overall for the team.
In comparison to their first game, UAA made a mere nine errors while playing CU, in contrast to Concord’s 18 errors.
Later the same day, the Seawolves met back on the court to take on their West Region rivals Biola. In four competitive sets, 26-16, 24-26, 25-1 and 25-20, UAA earned their second win of the season.
Stephens and Hayes continue to lead UAA’s offensive team with double-digit kills each, 16 and 14, respectively.
In addition, Stephens and Hayes contributed alongside junior libero Anjoilyn Vreeland on the defense, finishing with 11, 10 and 12 digs, respectively.
“We continued to improve for the third straight match. We knew Biola was very talented coming in, and our players did a terrific job of following the game plan we laid out for them,” Green said. “This was a solid team win that could be helpful in the long run in the playoff race, but we can’t lose focus with an excellent UC San Diego team on tap tomorrow.”
To end their two-game win streak, the Seawolves met back on the court Saturday night to play a competitive four sets against West Region rivals UC San Diego.
Despite the loss, the Seawolves made relatively few errors while still accumulating a decent number of kills and aces.
UAA finished with a total of 41 kills and 20 errors, in contrast to UCSD’s 57 kills and 24 errors. The Seawolves also managed to accumulate five more aces than the Tritons, nine and four, respectively.
Stephens and Hayes again managed to lead the team with kills, 16 and 12, respectively. However, junior middle blocker Kayla McGlathery held the team-high attack percentage for the night (.278).
The Seawolves will have a chance to redeem themselves next week in the DII West Region showcase, in San Bernardino, California on Sept. 12-14.
For a full Seawolf volleyball schedule and game results, visit www.goseawolves.com.