Seawolves pull out gritty 5-set win
SEATTLE - Freshman Julia Mackey had 13 kills,
including match point, to help Alaska Anchorage to a critical 25-19, 25-21,
22-25, 13-25, 15-12 volleyball victory over Seattle Pacific at Royal Brougham
Pavilion on Thursday.
The Seawolves (11-5, 6-2 GNAC) also got nine kills apiece from freshmen Sarah Johnson and Breanne Sytnyk as they won here for the first time since 2009 and stayed within striking distance of co-leaders Western Washington and Central Washington in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings.
The Falcons (7-10, 4-4) were led by 19 kills from Cailin Fellows and 48 assists from setter Shelby Swanson, but the home team could not capitalize on its momentum in the final set.
UAA took control early with a balanced attack, winning the first two sets despite getting no more than six kills from any player.
The Seawolves, who also got eight kills and six total blocks from junior Jodi Huddleston, took a 12-7 lead early in the third and seemed to be on their way to an easy sweep. However, SPU came alive to tighten the frame and erase a late 21-20 deficit. Tied at 22-22, the Falcons won the next three points, then followed by taking nine of the first 10 rallies in the fourth set.
Tied 6-6 in the fifth, Huddleston ripped a kill to start a four-point run that would eventually decide the match. UAA went up 13-7 when Katelynn Zanders and Sytnyk stuffed SPU's Nikki Lowell at the net, and Zanders answered a 4-0 Falcons run with just her fifth kill of the night to make it 14-11. After a service error, Mackey allowed SPU no more chances, ripping the first attack of the ensuing rally for the clincher.
Zanders, who entered No. 3 in the league with 3.60 kills per set, finished with her season-low in kills, but she was picked up by former South Anchorage High School teammate Johnson, who delivered nine kills and just one attack error (.250), along with eight digs and three total blocks.
Sytnyk was huge as well, with the freshman from Shoal Lake, Manitoba, accounting for career-highs in both kills and total blocks (6).
Setter Kimya Jafroudi had 41 assists, four kills, 10 digs and three total blocks to help UAA edge SPU in attack percentage, .196 to .192. The Seawolves' biggest advantage came on the other side of the net, though, where they outblocked the Falcons 12-5.
Junior libero Siobhan Johansen had 23 digs to lead UAA along the back row.
The match marked the first 5-setter between the longtime rivals since 2003.
The Seawolves, who improved to 6-14 all-time at SPU, finish their road trip Saturday when they travel east to face Montana State Billings (8-8, 5-3 GNAC) at 5 p.m. ADT at Alterowitz Gymnasium.