UAA battles out Central Washington in nerve-wrecking sets

As the season rolls on and the UAA women’s volleyball continues to move up in the charts, they took on two more rivals: Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene. Two of the highest ranked teams in the conference behind UAA, the Seawolves knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park.

Volunteer coach Siobhan Johansen was still optimistic.

“CWU and NNU are both tough teams and as long as UAA comes into the game[s] focused on playing their best game, I think they’re going to do really well,” Johansen said.

After last week’s games, the Seawolves were able to pull up to be No. 8 in the entire division II volleyball standings. In addition, they had an impressive 17 game win streak that they increased to 18 following the previous match.

Central Washington became the first rival of the weekend for the Seawolves on Thursday, Oct. 13. Compared to UAA’s No. 1 rank in the conference, CWU isn’t far behind at No. 3 with a 6-2 streak.

Set one wasn’t a complete blowout for the Seawolves like it seems to have been in the past. Instead of starting off quick and pushing an immediate lead for the entire set, the Seawolves experienced a change in pace. CWU managed to hold on to the Seawolves’ energy and play at the same pace, which is almost expected since CWU is only two spots down from UAA in the rankings.

The beginning of the set proved to be a little bit of a struggle for the Seawolves, resulting in many errors, but none the less sophomore outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson helped keep the team together with repeated digs.

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While rallying the ball back and fourth, senior setter Morgan Hooe kept up with the assists, accumulating a total of 11 in the set, to give Diana Fa’amausili and Leah Swiss the ball for many kills a piece.

Halfway through the set, the Seawolves were able to pull in a much larger lead, but only briefly. Fa’amausili got up to the net for another kill, as well as freshman Vanessa Hayes.

Coming in towards the end, Swiss and Erin Braun held the defense up with several blocks to prevents CWU from scoring. The set point was won with teamwork while Hooe set the ball to Swiss for a kill. The set ended in UAA’s favor, 25-19.

Set two kept everyone anxious and on their feet. The rallies lasted long and the scores stayed close. Half way through the set and the Seawolves still lacked a lead, but their score continued to increase and their energy stayed high.

The end of the set kept everyone the most anxious. At 24-23 CWU held the lead, and also the set point. UAA pulled in a point, then CWU. The score toggled back and forth, needing a two-point lead for a win.

The tension was definitely high as the teams battled out the last several minutes. With excellent offense and teamwork, Johnson and Hooe helped lead the team to the win, with help from Braun and Swiss. The final score for set two ended at an astonishing 31-29 for a second win of the night on the Seawolves’ side.

After the previous battle for a win in the second set, Hooe managed to accumulate a total of 22 assists in just the set, as well as Johnson with 10 kills and sophomore libero Kyla Miltante-Amper with 14 digs.

Set three again proved to be rough for the Seawolves. CMU showed their determination and kept their lead over UAA until finally at 20-20 it evened out.

The first half of the set lacked defense from the Seawolves, CMU kept getting in hit after hit and UAA wasn’t able to keep up. In addition, the Seawolves added their own offensive errors on top of it give Central Washington a strong lead.

It was in the last ten minutes that things once again got interesting. Just like set two, UAA and CMU toggled after the set winning point and rallied for extensive periods of time. This set left everyone even more anxious; if the Seawolves could pull through on this set, they could win the game.

Yet again, Hooe and Johnson stepped up together. But, not without help from Swiss, who pulled in eight kills and eight digs during the set, and Johnson with six kills. After an anxiously long wait, UAA again pulled out a third win at 31-29.

In an astonishing comparison, UAA accumulated at total of 63 kills, 60 assists and 82 digs during the entire game while their rivals CWU managed 30 kills, 27 assists and 56 digs.

Even though the close scores of the sets, UAA did manage to have some flaws, as noticed by volunteer coach Johansen.

We struggled a little with being consistent hitters and servers. But overall UAA fought hard and came back strong from big deficits in the second and third sets,” Johansen said.

After the win, the Seawolves now increased their winning streak to 18 games. With another chance to increase it even more, the Seawolves take on Northwest Nazarene on Saturday, Oct. 15.