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Courtesy: Sam Wasson/UAA Athletics

Johnson powers 'Wolves past Nanooks

Courtesy: UAA Sports Information
Release: 09/29/2012
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ANCHORAGE – Freshman outside hitter Sarah Johnson had 24 kills and 24 digs to anchor a huge Alaska Anchorage comeback Saturday as the Seawolf volleyball team earned a 22-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-20, 15-10 victory over rival Alaska Fairbanks at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.

A program-record crowd of 884 watched as the Seawolves (9-4, 4-1 GNAC) also got 59 assists and 12 digs from senior setter Kimya Jafroudi to beat their northern rivals for the fourth straight time. With the result, UAA also matched the program mark for consecutive home wins with its 15th in a row.

The Nanooks (2-9, 0-5) were led by 24 kills from outside hitter Sam Harthun and 37 digs from libero Allison Oddy, but the visitors could not capitalize on their early momentum as their current losing streak reached nine.

After stumbling early, the Seawolves got seven kills on .500 hitting from Johnson in the third set to stay alive, and fellow rookie outside hitter Julia Mackey got into the act in the fourth set with five of her 13 kills to tie the match.

UAA then took control early in the fifth, getting a kill from freshman Katelynn Zanders to go ahead 2-1 and never trailing. The Nanooks pulled within 8-5 midway through the frame before UAA junior middle blocker Jodi Huddleston started a three-point surge with one of her 12 kills, and the Seawolves earned match point on a feed from Jafroudi to Mackey.

“Our team really responded well to adversity tonight,” said UAA head coach Chris Green. “I was pleased to see how we kept our poise throughout the match, especially our freshmen. We got great senior leadership from Kimya and Nikkie Viotto (15 digs), and Sarah Johnson was a real workhorse for us.”

Zanders tallied 14 kills and four total blocks, while junior middle blocker Maureen Sabado collected four kills and a match-high eight total blocks. On the back row, junior libero Siobhan Johansen added 16 digs and sophomore defensive specialist Jordan Bush had 10.

Johnson – a 6-footer from South Anchorage High School – finished with career-highs in kills, digs and attack percentage (.370), committing just four attack errors. Jafroudi, meanwhile, came one assist shy of her career-high, helping UAA out-hit the Nanooks .258 to .176.

The Seawolves won the blocking battle 11-5 as well, with Mackey picking up one solo and four block assists.

UAA remains home for another pair of Great Northwest Athletic Conference matches next week, hosting Simon Fraser on Thursday, Oct. 4, and nationally ranked Western Washington on Saturday, Oct. 6. Both contests begin at 7 p.m.

NOTES: The previous attendance record was also set against UAF when 821 fans packed the WFSC in 2003 … UAA’s 15th straight home victory matched the accomplishment of the 1987 and 1988 clubs … the Seawolves’ last home loss came Sept. 8, 2011 in a 5-setter against Western Oregon … Johnson’s 24 kills came one short of UAA’s individual season-best of 25, set by Zanders at Cal State-Monterey Bay.



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