ANCHORAGE – Leah Swiss had 13 kills and Keala Kaio-Perez made 25 digs Thursday to lift the 20th-ranked Alaska Anchorage volleyball team to its fourth straight victory, 25-7, 25-19, 27-25 over Saint Martin’s at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (8-4, 3-0 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got seven kills, nine digs, four block assists and two aces from Chrisalyn Johnson to extend their school-record win streak to 19 in a row against the visitors from Lacey, Wash.
The Saints (6-5, 1-2) were led by 15 kills and 14 digs from outside hitter Rebecca Mitchell as they nearly took a set from UAA for the first time since 2012.
After the Seawolves hit .619 in the first set and pulled away late to win the second, the two-time defending GNAC champions and reigning NCAA Div. II national runners-up needed a late rally in the third to earn the sweep.
Trailing 19-18 in the third, Saint Martin’s scored six straight points – including a pair of aces from reserve Ililani Kamaka – to earn five shots at set point. But UAA answered with a 6-0 run of its own, with Johnson and freshman Vera Pluharova teaming for a block to make it 25-24. The Saints fought off one match point on a kill by Mitchell before sophomore right-side hitter Diana Fa’amausili came through for UAA, smashing a kill down the middle to make it 26-25, and repelling a Mitchell attack on a one-handed, touch block to earn the clincher.
Fa’amausili finished with six kills and four block assists, while Pluharova had a match- and career-best six block assists despite playing only the final set.
Swiss ripped seven kills on nine attacks in the first set and finished with nine digs and two aces, and sophomore middle blocker Vanessa Hayes had four total blocks and six kills on match-high .500 hitting.
Kaio-Perez continued her impressive play as well, collecting the second-most digs of her career. The senior libero from Waimanalo, Hawaii, improved on her league-best 0.52 aces per set – without committing a service error – and dished four assists.
Sophomore setter Madison Fisher distributed 20 assists and had 12 digs for the Seawolves, who continue GNAC play Saturday when they host Seattle Pacific (7-4, 2-1) at 7 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center. Call 907-786-1562 to order tickets or visit GoSeawolves.com for more information.
NOTES: The Seawolves have won 30 straight and 57 of the last 59 sets against the Saints … UAA leads the all-time series 31-4 overall and 16-1 in Anchorage … Pluharova came into the match with four total blocks on the season … junior right-side hitter/defensive specialist Taylor Noga had multiple kills for the second time in her career and earned her first-ever block assist in a home match … Swiss tied Tegan Bosard (1996-99) for seventh place on UAA’s career aces list at 114 … Swiss enters Saturday’s SPU match needing just three more kills to reach 900 for her career … SPU erased a 2-set deficit to earn a 3-2 (15-13) win at Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday night.