UAA women’s volleyball plays in closest game of entire season

After a weekend away on the West Coast for several games, the Seawolves returned home to take on Great Northwest Athletic Conference No. 3 volleyball team Simon Fraser. With an undefeated status in the conference, UAA had quite the advantage over Simon Fraser who premiered with a 7-3 record. With this on the Seawolves side, they were able to pull their win streak out of the teens with win number 20 for the season.

To start the game off right, the Seawolves started off in a slight deficit that immediately sprang them into to action to remain in the lead for the rest of the set.

On the Seawolves’ side, freshman Vanessa Hayes pushed her way up the net with assistance from setter Morgan Hooe. Altogether, Hayes rallied up three kills in the beginning of the set that helped the Seawolves get their head start.

Sophomore outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson goes in for a kill. Photo credit: Adam Phillips

To help recoup for the remainder of the set, Morgan Hooe pulled the team together by setting up for the main kills, supplied by sophomore outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson and senior middle blocker Leah Swiss. Already almost topping off the lead at 10 points, UAA rallied up at the set point. Knowing they easily had the win in the bag, Kyla Militante-Amper stepped up to the line for the fourth successful set in a row. Hooe made a final set to Swiss to win the set at 25-15.

Compared to set one, the second set of the night was a walk in the park for the Seawolves. For a deceiving start, Simon Fraser pulled the score up several points before the Seawolves even got on their feet.

Swiss started the Seawolves’ lead off with six successful serves, two of them being service aces. Once UAA got that confidence boost, the rest of the set just took off. Simon Fraser managed three more points until they were stuck at nine points for the entire remainder of the set.

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With even fewer errors than set one, the Seawolves offense was on point. With a lead of over 15 points, UAA was in the clear, but, nonetheless, they kept their A-game up. With a final two digs from sophomore libero Militante-Amper, the Seawolves won the set on errors from Simon Fraser at 25-9.

Getting ready for the third set of the night, Simon Fraser knew it was their last chance at redemption, while the Seawolves knew they could close out their 20th win here.

With that knowledge in hand, SFU sparked an energy that led them to pull in a quick lead. The Seawolves initially struggled to catch up, but in a rapid comeback like the previous set, the women stayed determined and snagged the lead.

With Hooe and Swiss continually on the ground for digs, Johnson stepped up to the net to help rack in the points. In a cycle of rallies, both teams toggled back and forth between point gains. In a final attempt to win, Simon Fraser stepped up their offense. With the pressure of the situation, the Seawolves began to slip up with errors, leading SFU to the win at 25-20.

After the unfortunate turn around in the game, the Seawolves stepped up for a fourth set of the night. The Seawolves’ energy obviously ran low and resulted in less comparable performance, they were quickly outweighed by Simon Fraser.

The strong link on the team turned into the weak link. Even though they were still rallying up kills, Simon Fraser was gaining more. The Seawolves continued throughout the set, but this time with a higher percentage of errors. In another close set, UAA saw a repeat of the previous set. Simon Fraser came out on top with a win at 25-23.

After two losses for the night, the Seawolves knew they had to change their frame of mind. Volunteer coach Siobhan Johansen knows this isn’t always the easiest.

“Being consistent players is a challenge every player on any team faces,” Johansen said.

Both teams were able to obtain two wins each for the night by the end of the fourth set. With one last chance for the Seawolves to gain their 20th win in a row, they only had to make it to 15 points before Simon Fraser.

The Seawolves' front line jumps up for a block against Simon Fraser on Thursday, Oct. 20. Photo credit: Adam Phillips

With one chance for Simon Fraser to beat the only undefeated conference team, and one chance to UAA to extend their win streak to 20 wins, both teams entered the fifth set with distinct determination.

Only needing 15 points to win, it was a quick set. Hooe started off the Seawolves with several strong serves. Soon after, Simon Fraser began to break under the pressure, and this is where the set ended for them. Quickly advancing, the Seawolves pulled into a quick lead.

Hooe, yet again, was up to serve. She stepped up to the line not once or twice, but seven times to serve for half of the set straight. Three serves were aces, the rest scored them the points they needed to advance their record to 20 straight wins.

“We are the defending GNAC champions so every team is going to play their best against us! So we must always be prepared to battle against our opponents best game,” Hayes said. She knew that Simon Fraser did exactly that for this game.

The Seawolves did it again, pushing the boundaries of their already surpassed school record much further. With a 3-2 win (25-15, 25-9, 20-25, 23-25 and 15-8) they finished off the night with a bang.