UAA Volleyball clinches first scrimmage win over Nanooks

Two back-to-back block solos from Lelani Elder late in the fifth set resulted in the Seawolves winning the first spring scrimmage 3-2.

#3 Bethany Tuchardt hits a dig, one of her 9 of the night. Photo by Justin Cox.

The 2023 volleyball season may have officially ended months ago — back in the fall semester — but the 2024 volleyball season began recently on March 30, starting on a high note for the Seawolves as they beat UAF 3-2 at home.

UAA’s win was a familiar sight for the home crowd to see — the Seawolves haven’t lost to their northern rivals since November 2021 — however, there was some unfamiliarity to the game. Nicole Blue, UAA’s biggest weapon last season, watched the game from the sidelines.

These scrimmages don’t allow seniors to play, instead giving us a snapshot of the current competition heading into the fall season. This resulted in the young blood of the Seawolves having to step up.

UAA breezed through the first set with ease, limiting the Nanooks to under 15 points. In the second set there were some signs of life in the Nanooks' defense resulting in some rally, however nothing substantial or noticeable.

But around the third set, outside hitter Bethany Tuchardt took a hard fall and hurt her foot, pulling her out of the game. Prior to her fall, Tuchardt totalled nine kills, nine digs, and two aces, her kills leading the team at the time.

Despite her injury, she was second on the team in kills — the leader having 10 — and tied third on the team for digs.

To put it simply, she was on a hot streak against the UAF defense.

Tuchardt’s injury and Blue’s ascendence left a noticeable absence on the outside as the Seawolves struggled to maintain efficient kills late into the game, falling to 2-2.

The Seawolves and Nanooks kept the game tight, however two back to back block solos from Elder late in the fifth set resulting in the Seawolves winning the final set 16-14, ending the first spring game with a 3-2 win over the Nanooks.

Tuchardt’s injury did prove to be costly for the Seawolves, however, given the nature of the preseason, there’s no pressure for any hurried returns.

The Seawolves look ahead to a double header on Saturday, April 6 against Central and Eastern Washington before heading up to Fairbanks to close out the preseason against the Nanooks on April 20.