On Sept. 22, the UAA women’s volleyball team traveled down to Bellingham, WA to face competitor Western Washington University. After the Seawolves finished the previous weekend with two wins, they now face-off with their opponents as 12th in Division II standings and tied for 1st in the the Great Northwest Athletic Conference at 2-0. Western Washington is 20th in Division II and in a 5-way tie for third in GNAC.
Both games against Western Washington and Simon Fraser were very important to UAA, especially SFU being tied for first. Even as a freshman, Vanessa Hayes knew the importance of the games, “we had something to prove by playing these teams. Last year WWU caused us a huge loss and that fired the team up to get revenge! Also earlier this season SFU beat WWU so we knew that we had two tough matches ahead of us,” Hayes said.
Thursday, Sept 22 v. WWU
The Seawolves started off with assists from senior setter Morgan Hooe, giving freshman middle blocker Vanessa Hayes the opportunity to sieve 3 kills in the first set. Pulling in a fast lead against WWU the Seawolves showed the determination proven by their first place GNAC ranking. Outside hitter, sophomore Chrisalyn Johnson, soon pulled in assists from Hooe to give the team another 4 kills in just the first ten minutes of the game.
UAA women quickly pulled ahead while utilizing current attack leaders Leah Swiss and Diana Fa’amausili. WWU continued dishing the Seawolves kills while sophomore libero Kyla Militante-Amper didn’t show any fatigue by pulling in dig after dig.
With a lead almost doubling WWU, the Seawolves easily won set 1 at 25-15. They finished off the set with an impressive 15 kills, 12 digs, and 12 assists.
Their eye on another quick win, the Seawolves pulled in the first points of set 2. Senior middle block Erin Braun quickly makes a presence with several blocks ending in points for the Seawolves. As the Seawolves fell slightly behind, WWU took advantage of UAA’s several block, serve and kill errors. In determination to pull back ahead, Johnson and Swiss stroke down several more kills utilizing assists from Hooe and Miliante-Amper.
Struggling to catch up to Western Washington, the Seawolves experienced several more serve and attack errors. None the less, the Seawolves still showed determination. Towards the end of the set, Swiss added in several more kills, Miliantae with 5 more digs, and Hooe with 10 more assists on the set.
With hard work paying off, the Seawolves slowly pulled forward until they were only a of couple points off. Unfortunately not soon enough, WWU ended the set with a 3 point lead over UAA, at 25-23, respectively.
A slow start to set 3 gave neither WWU or UAA a definitive lead, both teams teetered back and forth. After only 1 kill from Johnson and Swiss early on, Western Washington again began to pull ahead. In a swift turn of events, the Seawolves pulled through to win the set 25-20. Ending the set with 14 kills, 17 digs, and 12 assists.
Head to head in the game determining set for the Seawolves, a quick start pulled WWU into the lead. Swiss added 2 kills and Johnson 1, but it still wasn’t enough to pull on a lead; UAA and WWU stayed in a constant tie until half way through the set. 2 digs from Miliante-Amper helped the Seawolves back to their feet and they got an advantage on Western Washington. In a swift end to the set, the Seawolves had the win that they needed at 15-10.
After an anxious 4 sets, the UAA women’s volleyball continued their 11, and now 12, game win steak with a 3-1 win (25-15, 23-25, 25-20, 15-10). The hard work the Seawolves have been putting in has finally paid off, “we came out with passion and a drive that we have been searching for these these last few weeks in practice. All around I feel that everybody improved this weekend,” Hayes said.
Saturday. Sept 24 v. Simon Fraser
On Saturday, the UAA women’s volleyball headed north to Burnaby, B.C, Canada to take on their current conference match Simon Fraser. Both teams are tied for first in the conference with a 3-0 record, UAA having the only advantage of an overall 13-1 record for the season while Simon Fraser stands at 8-1.
Seawolves started off set 1 with the first serve of the game. Senior setter Morgan Hooe and senior middle blocker Erin Braun worked together to block several attacks from SFU after the first serves.
Head to head, UAA and SFU matched each other for every point scored. With repetitive kills from sophomore outside hitter Leah Swiss, the Seawolves made a debut to the lead. After a close set, UAA pulled through 25-19.
A slow start to set 2 initially put the Seawolves behind, but with sophomore outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson and blocker Braun on UAA’s side, they were able to put a dent in SFU’s lead. After a second close set, the Seawolves managed a second win of the night at 25-19.
Coming into set 3, the Seawolves knew this was their chance to win the game and pull ahead of Simon Fraser to be the top seed in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
With that determination in mind, the UAA women worked together to get an early lead. Hooe set up numerous assists to let Braun and Johnson take over and dish out some kills. Several offensive errors on the Seawolves side let SFU earn some points and get dangerously close to their lead.
However, in the end Swiss came through with several kills, some resulting in aces that elevated the Seawolves lead to a much more comfortable level. UAA’s offense showed its full potential in the second half of the set. To make up for the several offensive errors, the Seawolves pulled everything back together and managed a set winner at 25-14.
At the end of the night, the Seawolves became the top seed in GNAC after beating, now second place, Simon Fraser 3-1 (25-19, 25-19, 25-14).