Comeback spurs Senior Night victory over SFU
ANCHORAGE – Sophomore Katelynn Zanders blasted 17 kills and keyed a first-set rally Saturday to lead Alaska Anchorage to a 26-24, 25-11, 25-10 sweep of Simon Fraser in what was probably be the Seawolves’ last volleyball match ever at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Johnson also spurred the victory with a season-best 14 kills on .522 hitting, while junior libero Quinn Barker made a match-high 18 digs for regionally 8th-ranked UAA (19-9, 13-3 GNAC).
SFU (11-11, 6-10) got 11 kills from outside hitter Kelsey Robinson, but she also committed 11 attack errors as the Canadians were out-hit .292 to .029. The Seawolves also dominated in digs (50-37), blocks (11-3) and aces (6-2).
The Clan controlled action for much of the opening set, taking a 15-10 lead before UAA rallied for a 17-17 tie. The Seawolves could not grab the lead, however, and SFU rallied for set point at 24-22 when Robinson blasted a kill.
UAA coach Chris Green whistled timeout and drew up a play for Zanders, who smashed consecutive kills to knot it 24-24. The Seawolf block then took over, with Maureen Sabado and Erin Braun stuffing Robinson on the next two points to clinch the comeback.
It was never a contest after that as UAA raced to a 13-3 lead in the second set and a 10-5 edge in the third. Leading 12-8, the Seawolves put the match away with eight straight points, capped by consecutive kills from Braun.
In addition to Johnson, freshman setter Morgan Hooe – her former South Anchorage High School teammate – broke out with 26 assists, eight digs, three kills and a career-high four blocks. Braun, another rookie, added three kills and a career-high nine block assists.
Meanwhile, Zanders continued her roll with a .441 attack percentage, keeping UAA within one match of 10th-ranked Western Washington for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference lead. Both teams have two matches remaining in the regular season – WWU with a home-and-home vs. Simon Fraser, and UAA on the road at Montana State Billings (6-19, 3-13) and Seattle Pacific (14-10, 10-6). Those matches are set for Thurs., Nov. 21 and Sat., Nov. 23, with the NCAA Tournament fields to be announced Sunday evening.
The Seawolves finished the season with a 10-4 mark at the WFSC. UAA moves into the new Alaska Airlines Center – set to open in August 2014 – next season.
NOTES: Saturday was the final home match for seniors Siobhan Johansen (11 assists, 5 digs) and Jodi Huddleston (2 kills, 2 blocks), while 4-year team manager Gaynor Johansen was also honored in pre-match ceremonies … Siobhan Johansen moved into a 15th-place tie on UAA’s career list for matches played (108), into 14th place for sets played (390), and into 13th place for digs (940) … Zanders saw her streak of seven straight double-doubles snapped, coming up with just three digs … UAA remained unbeaten in eight matches all-time against SFU since the Clan joined the GNAC and NCAA Div. II ranks in 2010.