ANCHORAGE - Freshman Sarah Johnson had another huge all-around performance Saturday to help Alaska Anchorage pull out a Great Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball victory over Northwest Nazarene, 25-13, 23-25, 25-22, 27-29, 15-6, at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
The Seawolves (7-3, 2-0 GNAC) won their sixth straight thanks in large part to Johnson's 18 kills and 17 digs, which tied and set the outside hitter's personal-best totals. Junior middle blocker Jodi Huddleston also provided some timely offense for the home team, tallying 14 kills with a match-best .345 attack percentage.
The Crusaders (7-4, 1-1) got 10 kills and nine digs from outside hitter Elayna Rice, but the visitors from Nampa, Idaho, ran out of gas in the final set of 11 straight road matches to start the season.
UAA - which won in five sets Thursday against Central Washington - got taken to the limit again despite out-hitting the Crusaders by a lofty .250 to .065 margin. The Seawolves also won the blocking battle, 13-5, but kept NNU in the match by committing 23 service errors.
Only one of those service mistakes occurred in the deciding fifth set, however, as the Seawolves jumped to a 6-0 lead behind the serve of senior setter Kimya Jafroudi. Johnson ripped her final kill to make it 9-1, and the Seawolves essentially clinched the win on the ensuing rallies when Julia Mackey and Maureen Sabado blocked Rice on back-to-back plays.
Sabado, a sophomore middle blocker from Kodiak, finished with seven total blocks and now has 17 through her first two matches as a Seawolf. Mackey tallied 11 kills on .267 hitting, while fellow freshman outside hitter Katelynn Zanders chipped in 10 kills and five total blocks, including three solos.
Jafroudi finished with 51 assists, nine digs and three block assists, while libero Siobhan Johansen and defensive specialist Nikkie Viotto earned 18 and 15 digs, respectively.
The victory ran UAA's home winning streak to 14 in a row, including six this season.
Saturday marked the first 5-setter between the conference rivals since 2005.
The Seawolves, who now share the early GNAC lead with 14th-ranked Western Washington, return to the road next week to face Western Oregon (Thur., Sept. 20, 6 p.m. ADT) and Saint Martin's (Sat., Sept. 22, 6 p.m. ADT).