UAA volleyball falls to seventh place, struggles to move to regional championships

Although they had been holding tight at No. 6 in the NCAA Division II West Region Volleyball poll, the UAA volleyball team recently slipped to No. 7. The final poll will be released on Nov. 7, which will determine who will make it to the national playoffs on Nov. 11.

Vanessa Boyer in action during the match against Seattle Pacific Photo credit: Skip Hickey

The last two home volleyball matches were held this past weekend at the Alaska Airlines Center. The first, against Seattle Pacific, had the biggest turnout of the whole season with a crowd of over 1,500 people.

Seattle Pacific won the first set after breaking a 9-9 tie with eight consecutive points. The Seawolves quickly gained their momentum after the start of the second set by maintaining a 6-point lead which led to their victory.

However, their victory was cut short during the third set as the Seawolves were never able to take the lead. The opposite happened in the fourth set as UAA tied the game up once again.

The fifth and final set continued to have fans on the edge of their seats, but Seattle Pacific won the tie-breaker with a score of 15-11. Despite their loss, UAA’s Vanessa Boyer had a personal record of 16 kills.

UAA’s middle blocker, Tara Melton, had the highest attack percentage of the team at .318. However, that wasn’t enough to fend off Seattle Pacific’s Shaun Crespi who had an attack percentage of .4.

The second home game this past weekend, which was against Saint Martin’s, started as an unusually close match. UAA eventually came out on top at the end of the first set with a final score of 25-23.

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Saint Martin’s put up a fight in the beginning of the second set but fell behind due to multiple attack errors. UAA, in turn, was able to maintain a steady lead, which resulted in a final score of 25-18.

Ultimately, Saint Martin’s came out on top with a final score of 25-20.

Once the fourth set started, UAA soon set the tone with a double digit lead and ended with a final score of 25-10.

With the 2018 season coming to a close, head coach Christopher Green is still proud of what the team has done so far.

“I think we are playing very well at the time and simply need to play at a high level more consistently,” said Green. “We are looking forward to finishing the season strong and hoping to qualify for our sixth straight NCAA Tournament.”

Freshman Ellen Floyd transitioned from high school volleyball during her first season at UAA. Floyd has accumulated close to triple the amount of assists and almost double the amount of sets when compared to the next leading player.

“College volleyball is a lot more demanding than high school volleyball,” said Floyd. “I’m constantly thinking about what I can work on and how I need to improve small details in my game everyday.”

“In high school, there were always a couple players who were the best, but in college, everyone is the best,” she added. “Now we are all equal, and you are constantly fighting for your position because each person on your team has that drive to continue to be the best.”

The volleyball team will compete in the NCAA Division II Regional Championships on Thursday, Nov. 15. The outcome will determine if they can move on to the Division II Elite Eight in Pittsburgh the following week.

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