The Seawolves overtook the UAA alumni in volleyball opener

The Seawolf volleyball team kicked off their 2019-2020 season with the annual Seawolf Alumni game at the Alaska Airlines Center. The UAA volleyball team was joined by recent standout alumni, including Morgan Hooe (2013-16), Julia Mackey (2012-15) and Erin Braun (2013-16).

Vera Pluharova goes for the ball at the Seawolf Alumni game on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Skip Hickey.

“Most of our team has already been here for the volleyball camps and practice, but it is exciting to get back onto the court,” head coach Chris Green said.

The alumni were challenged by a team of experienced returners for the Seawolves, including lone senior Vanessa Hayes, sophomore Eve Stephens and junior Vera Pluharova.

Green explained that being the only senior, they are expecting big things from Hayes, especially having a highly successful year during the previous season. He emphasized that Hayes has already done a phenomenal job leading the team.

“It’s definitely different. Coming in as a freshman I had five other freshmen with me and I always thought they’d be the ones I’d see here on the court during my senior year, but things changed and I ended up being the only one,” Hayes said. “So, it’s a new dynamic to feel like I have to take the team and be a leader.”

Stephens is returning after a standout freshman season, where she was named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year.

In an intense game of four sets, the Seawolves ended up overtaking the alumni 3-1. UAA started off strong, winning the first two sets 25-21 and 25-13. The alumni came back temporarily to win the third set 25-23 before being overtaken 25-21 in the fourth set.

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“This was a fight; these alumni are very good. But we had a good battle,” Hayes said.

Stephens and Pluharova led the Seawolves with a total of 27 kills between then, 16 and 11, respectively. In addition, Hayes contributed nine kills and junior transfer Kayla McGlathery added five more to the total.

McGlathery is returning to the Seawolves after stepping away from volleyball in 2014. However, she was named GNAC Newcomer of the Year that year.

In comparison, the alumni were led by Jackie Matthisen (2008-11) and Anais Vargas (2016-17), who contributed eight kills each. Brooke Pottle (2013-14) added six more and Mackey contributed five.

The Seawolves were also led in assists by sophomore setter Ellen Floyd, contributing a total of 25. In addition, junior transfer setter Emma Kleven added 14 more assists in her first game as a Seawolf.

For the alumni, Calli Scott (2008-09) led the team with 21 assists, while Hooe trailed behind with a total of 15.

The annual alumni game was used as a practice to get the Seawolves back into the swing of competition prior to starting their regular season.

“I am excited for my senior year to finish strong; I’ve been to the national tournament and I want to go back so we will see how it goes,” Hayes said.

UAA will debut their regular season with four matches in the Seawolf Invitational next week at the Alaska Airlines Center. The tournament will begin on Thursday at 7 p.m. against Regis.