Closing in on the end of their outrageously successfully season, the Seawolves played two different games in Washington on Thursday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 19. These games secured the Great Northwest Athletic title that the Seawolves attained, but also elevated them two spots in the Division II standings to No. 9, as well as continuing to hold their position as No. 1 in the NCAA West Regional rankings.
Before coming into this weekend, UAA knew that they wanted to win the title outright and not just share it, “there’s definitely pressure but we’ve been working hard, we work day in and day out but we trust what our coaches have taught us and we will work off that,” sophomore outside hitter Leah Swiss said.
Thursday, Nov. 17 vs. Seattle Pacific University
Although the Seawolves came through with a 3-0 overall win, it wasn’t a necessarily easy game. UAA started the game with a quick lead in set one, contributing early on was senior setter Morgan Hooe with quick assists to initiate a strong offense. Furnishing a strong start to the game senior middle blocker Erin Braun stepped in on Hooe’s assists to help rack in the points. Finalizing their first win of the night, the Seawolves ended things up at 25-21.
To the Seawolves disadvantage, SPU slowly caught up while UAA was almost to set point. In the angst of the set closing in, the Seawolves struggled to keep their offense up which resulted in several errors. In a further disadvantage, SPU gained their two errors to tie the game up at 22-22.
After more toggling between the lead, Swiss stepped up to the net for a kill that brought the Seawolves up to set point. To final off their win, duo of Hooe and Braun got in a block that won the set at 28-26. Holding onto their senior and leader status was recognizable by head coach Chris Green
“Morgan and Erin were both spectacular tonight,” Green said.
In attempt to get in the winning set of the night, UAA and SPU stepped back onto the court for set three. With a minor scare half way through the set, the Seawolves were put temporarily behind. After a quick turnaround, UAA struck up a six point streak until a final kill from freshman Vanessa Hayes won the set and the game.
Final of 3-0 (25-21, 28-26, 25-21) won the game for the Seawolves. With this win, the Seawolves official extended a new program record with a total of 28 wins, passing last years 27. In addition, Braun passed 400 block assists and became the first person in the program to ever do so.
Saturday, Nov. 19 vs. Saint Martin’s
Following seven straight wins, the Seawolves remained in Washington to take on rival Saint Martin’s. UAA continues with their 19-1 conference record and with Saint Martin’s 2-18 record, this match was expected to be quick, which was seen in set one.
With the final score resulting in a complete blowout for the Seawolves, their lead excelled early and gave Saint Martin’s and initial eight-point deficit. With Hooe and middle blocker Diana Fa’amausili pairing up early, the duo quickly paired off assists with kills one after another until Saint Martin’s was left far behind.
Closing in on the end of the set, Taylor Noga stepped up to the line to get four successful serves in before Chrisalyn Johnson put in a kill for the set-winning point at 25-12.
With a change of pace, Saint Martin’s put UAA up to the test for the second set. Halfway through the set and Saint Martin’s even surpassed the Seawolves due to their offensive errors putting them in a five-point deficit. Slowly pulling back up, the scores tied at 21-21.
Several rallies continued until the usual 25 point win was surpassed and the game was tied up until 27-27. A kill by Fa’amausili gave the Seawolves the win they needed at 29-27.
Looking to final off the night, UAA and Saint Martin’s stepped up to set three, that resulted in almost a complete replicate of set one. Kyla Militante-Amper stepping in early to start the lead off with four successful serves. Soon, the Seawolves put them into a 5 point deficit. A final four serves from Militante-Amper and a kill from Fa’amausili gave UAA the win at 25-16.
With several strong weekends under their belt, the Seawolves have a new goal approaching: NCAA West Regionals. Head Coach Green looks ahead and plans for that.
“We are working hard not to have a let down as the West Regional approaches. We have a lot of work to do, and hopefully the girls realize that,” Green said.
NCAA West Regional Championships will be held Dec. 1 – Dec. 3.