ANCHORAGE - Freshman Sarah Johnson had 16 kills and 15 digs Thursday to help the Alaska Anchorage volleyball team hang on for a 25-19, 25-21, 26-28, 17-25, 15-10 victory over Central Washington in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference opener for both squads.
The Seawolves (6-3, 1-0 GNAC) also got a sterling debut from sophomore middle blocker Maureen Sabado, who had 10 kills and 10 total blocks. The victory was UAA's fifth straight and extended its Wells Fargo Sports Complex home streak to 13.
The Wildcats (5-4, 0-1) got a match-high 17 kills from outside hitter Emmy Dolan, while libero Kaley Kight led all player with 29 digs. CWU's Kaitlin Quick delivered a double-double as well, finishing with 10 kills on .625 hitting and 10 block assists.
UAA, which got 59 assists from senior setter Kimya Jafroudi, easily took the first two frames and seemed on the way to the sweep, leading 23-18 in the third. A kill by Quirk and four straight Seawolf errors would tie it, however, and the Wildcats fought off three match points before extending the action.
After never leading in the fourth set, the Seawolves assumed control to begin the rubber frame, jumping to a 3-0 advantage. The Wildcats tied it a 6-6 before UAA took the lead for good, utilizing a pair of Central errors and a kill from middle blocker Jodi Huddleston to make it 9-6. Leading 10-9, Huddleston then ripped a kill to start 4-0 run that would effectively clinch the victory.
Freshman Julia Mackey had 16 kills and seven block assists, freshman Katelynn Zanders added 15 kills and Huddleston had 11 to make it five Seawolves with double-digit kills.
Sabado - a Kodiak product who sat out the 2011 season after transferring from San Diego City College - saw her first live action as a Seawolf and delivered a team-best .381 attack percentage.
Junior libero Siobhan Johansen led UAA with 19 digs, while senior Nikkie Viotto tallied seven digs after missing the first matches of her career last week with a sprained ankle.
The Seawolves host Northwest Nazarene (7-3, 1-0) on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the WFSC as they conclude their six-match homestand.