ANCHORAGE – Despite a fast start, host Alaska Anchorage could not contain hot-hitting Western Oregon as the visitors earned a 25-23, 25-19, 25-21 decision Saturday in a key Great Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball match at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
The Seawolves (13-6, 8-3 GNAC) were led by nine kills and five total blocks from freshman outside hitter Julia Mackey as their three-match winning streak came to an end.
The Wolves (14-5, 7-3), meanwhile, revitalized their playoff hopes behind 13 kills from Samantha Ward and nine kills apiece from Becky Blees and Danielle Reese, posting a .321 team attack percentage. Reese also delivered 10 digs as WOU swept the season series from UAA for the second straight year.
UAA controlled play early, jumping to an 18-12 in the opening set. A quick kill by setter Kimya Jafrouid and a kill from middle blocker Breanne Sytnyk put UAA ahead 22-18, but WOU would take a timeout and respond strongly with the next three points. Mackey made it 23-21 with another kill before the visitors from Monmouth rallied for four in a row – including two kills by Krissi Kemper – to take the set and the momentum.
After UAA forged an 8-7 lead in the second, Blees powered an 8-0 WOU run with three kills and a block assist. The Seawolves never led again in second or third sets, despite pulling even at 21-21 in the final frame. The Wolves closed the match with a pair of aces by Hannah Deede.
Jafroudi finished with a match-high 32 assists, along with nine digs and two kills for UAA, while junior libero Siobhan Johansen had a match-high 12 digs.
Senior Nikkie Viotto, who started at outside hitter for the first time this season, managed seven kills and eight digs, and freshman outside hitter Katelynn Zanders had seven kills as well.
UAA remains half a match ahead of WOU in the GNAC standings, however five of the Seawolves’ last seven regular-season encounters are on the road, beginning Saturday, Oct. 27 at Alaska Fairbanks.
NOTES: Saturday’s attendance of 862 ranks No. 2 in program history, trailing only the 884 against Alaska Fairbanks on Sept. 29 of this season … along with the No. 8 crowd of 785 against Western Washington on Oct. 6, three of the top eight attendances in program history have come in the last three weeks … Viotto played her 100th career match as a Seawolf, currently 17th-most in program history … Viotto also moved into 15th place in sets played with 368.
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