No. 1 Seawolves upset by No. 8 Silverswords, UAA volleyball comes to a close

Ellen Floyd sets the ball for the Seawolves in their loss against Chaminade. Photo courtesy of WWU athletics.

The Seawolves' historic volleyball season came to an unexpected end on Nov. 17 as Chaminade earned an upset victory in the first round of the NCAA Division II West Region Volleyball Championship in Bellingham, Washington. The opposing team defeated UAA 25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12

The top-seeded Seawolves were led by 20 kills by Eve Stephens, 14 kills from Lisa Jaunet, and 43 assists from Ellen Floyd, but they were unable to slow the attack of the 8th-seeded Silverswords, who hit 0.292 percent and had a 88-54 advantage over UAA in digs. 

After defeating Chaminade in three sets on Aug. 20, the Seawolves were caught off guard by the opposing team's impressive 0.529 hitting percentage in the opening frame. The Silverswords secured the frame 25-20 to gain an early lead. 

The Seawolves didn't let this rocky start phase them, though. They responded with a solid 0.316 hitting percentage in the second frame to take it 25-22 and tie the game 1-1. 

The Silverswords dominated the beginning of the third frame, but the Seawolves came through with an impressive late run to outscore the opposing team 25-23 and take a 2-1 lead. Stephens led the run with five kills, and a diving play from Madison Galloway helped UAA take their first lead of the frame. 

Leading 20-18 in the fourth frame, it looked like the Seawolves were going to win the game and advance to the next round of the NCAA Division II West Region Volleyball Championships. However, the Silverswords rallied together and made a 7-1 run to take the frame 25-21. 

The pressure was on for the Seawolves in the final frame of the game. Both teams stayed within two points of each other until the final rally when the Silverswords snapped a 12-12 tie on two consecutive kills. Chaminade won the frame 15-12, won the game 3-2, and sent the Seawolves home empty-handed. 

"We played them earlier in the year and they added a couple key pieces since then, and tonight they offensively, at many times, were unstoppable," said UAA coach Chris Green. 

"We fought hard, but didn't quite get over the hump there in the fifth game. But they are a good team right now, so you have to give them credit. They were relentless." 

While this was a disappointing end to UAA's season, the 2022 team still has many things to be proud of. The Seawolves' 27-3 record this year tied Green's 2015 squad for the second-best overall record in program history. 

Stephens took the number one spot in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference kills record, and was also voted GNAC and West Region Player of the Year. Floyd was also voted First Team All-West Region performer and finished as the UAA and GNAC career leader in aces. 

After the loss against Chaminade, Green reminded his team to be proud of their accomplishments this season. 

"The coach staff is very proud of what these guys have accomplished," said Green. 

"It takes a lot of hard work, and they surprised me to be honest. We played some tough, tough teams in the GNAC and to only have one loss (17-1) is a huge accomplishment. In the locker room we told them not to hang their heads. It's not the way we wanted to end it, but I'm very proud of what we've done." 

UAA senior libero Talia Leauanae echoed Green's thoughts. "This season has been by far my favorite," she said. "It'll be my last season, so it has a special place in my heart. I'm so proud of this team–we won a championship, we broke some records and we represented ourselves well." 

Be sure to congratulate our 2022 GNAC Champions when you see them around campus. They've made UAA proud with their impressive season, and they've reminded us how great it is to be a Seawolf.