UAA prevails over Oregon rivals

The UAA volleyball team, who currently rank fourth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, won two back-to-back games over Nov. 9 – 11 to extend their season wins to a total of 18.

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Leah Swiss focuses in on a bump pass during a UAA home game at the Alaska Airlines Center. Swiss pulled in to sixth for all-time kills, and second for all-time digs for UAA. Photo credit: Skip Hickey

Nov. 9 took off with a match between the Seawolves and Western Oregon. The game proved to be exceptionally successful for for junior outside hitters Chrisalyn Johnson and Leah Swiss, as well as sophomore middle blocker Vanessa Hayes, their efforts that were specifically noticed by Head Coach Chris Green.

“That was far from our best effort, but I also give Western Oregon a lot of credit for playing great defense and making things hard for us, luckily some of our veterans stepped up at key points in the match enough to get us the win,” Green said.

The Seawolves took over set one with an exceptionally large lead early on, with an eleven point difference at one time. Western Oregon eventually caught up and scored 6 points in a row to manage a tie at 22-22, but eventually finished off the set only 2 points short of a win.

Swiss and Hayes took the majority of the credit for securing the win of set one, helping accumulate the 15 kills by the end of the se.

Again, the second set proved to be successful for the Seawolves by starting off with a dramatic lead in the beginning. UAA managed to get to 14-6, an eight point lead, before Western Oregon rallied again to catch up. The Seawolves finished off the set at 25-21, with Western Oregon barely behind.

The offensive advantages seen in set one and two were diminished in set three when the Seawolves only managed 9 kills and were put temporarily behind Western Oregon. Although they started out at a 9-6 lead, they soon fell behind until a tie resulted at 22-22.

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Despite the decline in offensive skill near the end of the game, the Seawolves earned their 10th straight win against Western Oregon.

At the end of the night, Johnson finished with an impressive 12 kills and 15 digs, while Hayes accumulated nine kills. On top of that, freshman setter Casey Davenport managed 28 assists while libero Keala Kaio-Perez and Swiss tied with 21 digs each.

Swiss’s addition of 9 kills on Nov. 9 put her over 1,100 career kills, ranking her as sixth on the all-time UAA list. In addition, Swiss also pushed her way into No. 2 on the UAA all-time list for career digs.

Saturday, Nov. 11, proved to be a night similar the Seawolves’ battle against Western Oregon. UAA finished the night off with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-14) win over Concordia-Portland.

In contrast to Thursday’s game, Green was much more satisfied with the performance versus Concordia.

“I was pleased with our play today, especially in the first and third sets. Offensively, we looked like a team that deserves another chance at an NCAA Tournament berth, but it was our defense that really made the difference in that close second set,” Green said.

Set one started off with ties on four different occasions between the Seawolves and Concordia, but with a tie of 9-9, UAA took off with a 7 point rally to give them a significant lead, resulting in winning the set with a 9 point lead.

That ease of winning didn’t seem to translate into the second set when Concordia only trailed by UAA by two points at the end.

Although the Seawolves started with a quick 4 points back-to-back and an eventual seven point rally to push them back into the lead at 21-19, Concordia’s Lindsey Dorsey managed to propel her team closer to a win. It was a final kill by Johnson that let the Seawolves come out on top.

In contrast, the Seawolves finished off the third and final set with an 11 point lead win. UAA peaked near the beginning with a 7 point rally, 6 of them assisted by Hayes.

With their accumulation of points interspersed throughout the rest of the set, UAA experienced one final 4 point rally before ultimately winning at 25-14.

The Seawolves finished off their night with a 3-0 win over Concordia with significant contributions from Johnson, Swiss, Kaio-Perez and Davenport.

Johnson far surpassed athletes from both teams with a high of 15 kills for the night, in addition, defensively she made 8 digs for the night.

However, Kaio-Perez took the title for the most digs between both teams finishing off with a total accumulation of 19 digs.

Swiss was not far behind Kaio-Perez defense-wise, making 16 digs for the night in addition to accumulating 10 kills. Swiss now sits in the top-15 for UAA’s all-time career digs list, with a total of 963.

Davenport, made a match total of 35 assists, 7 more than Concordia’s setter.

UAA only made 5, 6, and 2 errors per set in contrast to Concordia’s 8, 5 and 5, respectively in each set.

The Seawolves return back to the Alaska Airlines Center to compete against Alaska Fairbanks on Nov. 14 and Montana State Billings on Nov. 16.

These are the final regular season games before UAA takes off to play in the NCAA Div. II West Regional Championships over the weekend of Nov. 30 – Dec. 2.