It was a tough weekend for the Seawolves volleyball team, who hosted Humboldt State Thursday, Sept. 29, and Western Oregon Saturday, Oct. 1. Both matches were conference play, and the Seawolves, currently in eighth place in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, needed both matches to keep themselves afloat.
The Seawolves, who have four starting freshmen, were overwhelmed by the Lumberjacks, who won the match in three sets. After dropping the first set 30-21, UAA jumped out to a 3-0 lead, only to have Humboldt come roaring back to a 17-7 lead. The Seawolves showed a lot of character, pulling within three of a 23-20 Humboldt lead. But in the end, Humboldt gathered itself together to win the set 30-23.
“We showed sparks of greatness, but nothing fluid,” said assistant coach Julie Foster, who is in her eighth season with the Seawolves.
The Seawolves’ game plan was to target the back right side of the court, the softest area of the Humboldt defense, which only started to happen towards the end of the match, most notably when UAA started to pull away in the third set.
“It was there, it just took them a game and a half to do,” Foster said.
UAA looked much more composed in the third set on their way to a 16-8 lead, their biggest of the night, but the ‘Jacks proved to be too much for the Seawolves, tying the score at 25, and eventually winning the set 30-27.
Despite losing the match, the Seawolves showed some positives. Freshman outside hitter Heather Lyons, who leads the team in kills per game, and is second on the team in digs per game, had her fourth double-double of the season, with 13 kills and 12 digs.
Humboldt State improved to 6-8 overall and 2-4 in conference play. UAA slipped to 4-11 and 1-5 in the GNAC.
The Seawolves had another rough night Oct. 1 against Western Oregon, losing the match 3 sets to 2. UAA looked dominant in the first two sets, jumping out to a two-set lead against the Wolves. But the Wolves blew out the Seawolf team 30-17 in the third set, and 30-20 in the fourth set, followed by an extremely close fifth set at 16-14.
Lyons had 12 kills and 12 digs on her way to her second straight double-double and her fifth on the year. Freshman Libero Cristal Negron and sophomore outside-hitter Jenny Carpenter had 14 digs each.
The Seawolves won an extremely close fiirst set 32-30. Western Oregon then kept the second set close, at an 18-18 tie, until the Seawolves’ hitters took over to win the set 30-22. Things took an ugly turn, the Wolves winning the third set 30-17, and the Seawolves getting the same confused look they had against Humboldt State. They continued to look lost with Western winning the fourth set 30-20.
“Obviously, we’ve had problems with momentum swing,” said sixth-year assistant coach Nicky Rose. “We’ve been trying to change up the way we prepare pre-game to try and fix some of our problems.”
They pulled it together in the fifth set (played to 15 points rather than 30), and kept it close the whole way to a 14-14 tie, but in the end the Wolves outlasted them on their way to a 16-14 victory, winning the match 3-2.
“It really just fell apart towards the end of the game,” said Jeremy Wetherell, a freshman and avid UAA volleyball fan.
UAA will now take the game on the road to rival UAF (1-12 overall, 1-6 GNAC) Oct. 7.