Seawolves conquer Red Storm, 3-1
ANCHORAGE - Freshman outside hitters Katelynn Zanders and Julia Mackey combined for 32 kills Friday to lift the Alaska Anchorage volleyball team to a 24-26, 25-22, 25-20, 25-23 victory over West Region rival Dixie State in the second match of the SpringHill Suites Invitational at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
The Seawolves (2-3) also got 41 assists, 14 digs and a career-high six service aces from senior setter Kimya Jafroudi as they recovered from late deficits in the second and fourth sets.
The Red Storm (0-1) lost their season-opener despite out-hitting the Seawolves .222 to .194, led by nine kills from outside hitter Mercedes O'Neal.
After surrendering a 17-11 in the second set, UAA fell behind 22-21 on an attack error by Zanders. The South Anchorage High School product bounced back quickly, however, slamming a kill and teaming with fellow rookie Breanne Sytnyk to stuff Sheila Uluave on the following two points. Mackey then blasted one of her 15 kills to make it 24-22 and Zanders followed with the clinching kill to even the match.
UAA controlled action in the third set and held a 13-9 lead in the fourth before things tightened again. The visitors from Utah rallied to tie it 18-18 and took the lead at 22-21 on a kill by O'Neal. Tied at 23-23 after trading service errors, Mackey responded with a pair of authoritative kills to help the Seawolves win their home debut.
Mackey hit .355 (15 kills, 4 errors, 31 attacks) and nine digs, while Zanders finished with 17 kills on .209 hitting. Junior libero Siobhan Johansen lifted a match-high 15 digs and dished four assists, including on match point.
Another freshman, outside hitter Sarah Johnson, tallied eight kills, 11 digs, three total blocks and three aces to contribute all-around.
The Seawolves were without senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Nikkie Viotto, who missed the first action of her 4-year career due to an ankle sprain.
UAA returns to round-robin play tonight at 7 p.m. when it takes on Adelphi (N.Y.) at the WFSC.