Ying and yang: UAA spikers split at home

The UAA Seawolves had a look at the top and bottom of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in a Sept. 12 home stand. And there was almost as much disparity in the way the Seawolves played each night as there was between undefeated Central Washington University and winless Saint Martin’s.

Friday night, UAA started off tough in the first game against Central Washington (13-0, 5-0 GNAC), but a string of eight unanswered points would bury them 30-21. UAA took a hard-fought second game 30-24 to knot the game score at 1-1. Then, the Wildcats woke up and clawed their way through the Seawolves easily in the final two matches, 30-14, 30-20.

CWU was dominating at the net with 20 kills from Crystal Ames and 18 each from LeAnne McGahuey and LaQue Branch. By comparison, the top UAA hitters were Katina Ozrelic with 14 and Carolyn DeKay with 10.

“We overestimated Central,” said UAA libero Rachel Knecht. “They are no. 1 in the conference, and we played as if we weren’t good enough to play with them. That was our mindset and the mental aspect of the game wasn’t there.”

Saturday, everything changed with a new team. St. Martin’s (2-10, 0-5 GNAC) had no shot against a team that was disappointed after the previous night’s loss and ready to snap a 3-game losing streak.

The Saints got a fired-up Ozrelic as well. The senior set a career high in kills with 18 and attempts with 30 for a .533 hitting percentage as the Seawolves rolled to a 30-28, 30-25, 30-25 victory.

“The sets were all on point and the passes were there too,” Ozrelic said. “Good setting and good passing makes me look good.”

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Stephanie Martinez had 47 assists, Jenny Mitchell had five blocks and Diana Gordon six service aces as UAA (9-5, 3-3 GNAC) out-hit, out-dug and out-killed the Saints.

“After not coming out with a lot fight Friday night, they came out and put themselves in a zone,” head coach Kim Lauwers said. “I didn’t want them to take this team lightly. Our league is a tough league, and we have to work on consistency. Anybody can beat anybody.”