ANCHORAGE – Junior outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson delivered a double-double and Vanessa Hayes and Leah Swiss came through in clutch situations Thursday to help the Alaska Anchorage volleyball team to a 25-23, 25-21, 25-22 sweep of Western Oregon at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (17-9, 12-5 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) got 12 kills and 15 digs from Johnson, while Swiss and Hayes had nine kills apiece. A junior outside hitter and two-time all-conference selection, Swiss added a career-high 21 digs, three aces and two blocks, including a solo block on match point.
The Wolves (6-18, 2-15) were led by match highs of 15 kills from outside hitter Alisha Bettinson, 22 digs from libero Libbie Hoene and five aces from Sierra Stultz, but the visitors from Monmouth were outhit .173 to .093.
UAA jumped to big early leads in every set, only to see the last-place Wolves rally each time.
The regionally 9th-ranked Seawolves led 15-6 in the opening frame before the Wolves began chipping away. Three straight WOU kills forged a 22-22 tie, and Swiss was blocked by Leila Holt to give the visitors the lead. Swiss responded with a kill of her own, however, and Hayes smacked back-to-back kills to clinch the set.
After leading 14-6 in the second, UAA saw its lead sliced to 20-18 on a kill from Katherine Huntington. But the Seawolves answered with a 3-0 run – highlighted by a combo block from Hayes and Anais Vargas – to stem the tide hold on for the 25-21 decision.
The Seawolves saw an early 9-6 advantage disappear in the third set and were tied 22-22 after the Wolves rallied for three straight points. UAA head coach Chris Green used his final timeout, and his team responded with consecutive kills by Swiss, followed by Swiss’s solo block of Huntington on match point.
“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,” said UAA head coach Chris Green. “Luckily some of our veterans stepped up at key points in the match enough to get us the win.”
Hayes hit a match-best .333, junior middle blocker Tara Melton had four kills and two blocks, and senior libero Keala Kaio-Perez added 21 digs as UAA earned its 10th straight win against WOU, sweeping the season series for the fifth consecutive time.
Setter Casey Davenport had 28 assists and eight digs for the Seawolves, who were officially eliminated from GNAC title contention despite the victory. First-place Western Washington now holds a 4-match lead over UAA with three to play.
UAA remains at the Alaska Airlines Center for its final three regular-season matches, resuming Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against Concordia-Portland (12-12, 7-10). Call 907-786-1562 for tickets for visit GoSeawolves.com for more information.
NOTES: Johnson recorded her 10th double-double of the season and ninth in the last 11 matches … Swiss moved alone into second place on the UAA career digs list with 142, having entered the night in a tie with Kasey Kuelper (139 aces, 2000-03) … Swiss also surpassed the 1,100 career kills plateau, now with 1,102; she needs 29 more to pass former teammate Julia Mackey (1,130, 2012-15) for fifth place and 33 more to pass Jackie Matthisen (1,134, 2009-11) for fourth place on UAA’s all-time list … Swiss registered her 79th win in a Seawolf uniform to pass Mackey for sixth place on the career victories list, while junior defensive specialist Taylor Noga had eight digs as she tied Mackey with her 78th victory in Green & Gold.