ANCHORAGE – Freshman Julia Mackey slammed a career-high 18 kills and junior Siobhan Johansen stepped up with big relief performance at setter Thursday to lead Alaska Anchorage to a 25-19, 25-21, 25-18 volleyball victory over Montana State Billings at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
The Seawolves (16-7, 11-4 GNAC) also got six kills and five total blocks from junior middle blocker Jodi Huddleston as they swept the season series and won for the sixth straight time against MSUB.
The Yellowjackets (10-13, 7-8) were led by 10 kills and seven digs from sophomore middle blocker Monica Grimsrud, but the visitors were out-hit .223 to .098.
The sweep came in unlikely fashion as the Seawolves were missing senior setter Kimya Jafroudi, who sprained her ankle in practice Wednesday.
Without Jafroudi – No. 2 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with 10.98 assists per set – UAA got a huge match from Johansen, with the team’s full-time libero taking over setting duties. The Colony High product came through with 31 assists, 13 digs, two aces and a career-high-tying three blocks assists.
Mackey, meanwhile, caught fire early with 10 kills in the opening set. The outside hitter from Fairbanks (West Valley HS) delivered six more kills in the second and finished with a pair in the third when she moved from the right to the left side. Her total of 18 marks the most in a three-setter this year for UAA and is just two shy of the GNAC season-best.
“Julia was really focused in tonight, whether she was the right, left or wherever,” said UAA head coach Chris Green. “She even played back row and made a couple nice digs. I thought Siobhan Johansen and Jordan Bush both did an excellent job of stepping into different roles and coming through with big matches, too. Jordan’s passing was key for us tonight.”
Bush, generally a serving and defensive specialist, played libero for the first time since early in the season and delivered 12 digs, two aces and no reception errors.
In fact, the Seawolves committed no reception errors as a team, holding the Yellowjackets without an ace.
The Seawolves play their home finale Saturday against Seattle Pacific at 8 p.m., with a prematch ceremony planned to honor Jafroudi and UAA’s other outgoing senior, Nikkie Viotto. NOTES: Mackey’s previous career high of 16 kills came in a 5-set win over Central Washington on Sept. 13 … Johansen, who shared the team’s main setting duties as a freshman in 2010, moved into No. 14 on UAA’s career assists list, now with 895 … Viotto played her 104th career match, moving into a tie with Vanessa Tsukano (1997-2000) for No. 16 on the career list … having lost to Western Oregon at the WFSC on Oct. 20, the Seawolves once again avoided their first back-to-back home defeats since late in the 2008 season.