ANCHORAGE – Vanessa Boyer blasted 16 kills to help Alaska Anchorage rally from a pair of deficits, but the all-around play of Seattle Pacific’s Gabby Oddo was too much to overcome as the visiting Falcons earned a 25-15, 15-25, 25-15, 18-25, 15-11 volleyball victory at the Alaska Airlines Center on Thursday night.
The Seawolves (19-6, 12-5 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) – ranked No. 7 in the NCAA Div. II West Region – also got 10 kills from senior middle blocker Tara Melton as they saw an 11-match win streak end against SPU and fell 1.5 matches behind Central Washington in the race for second place in the league.
Despite coming in with three straight losses, the Falcons (11-13, 9-8) were led by Oddo’s 18 kills and 16 digs, plus 53 assists from setter Symone Tran. Libero Amanda Ganete made a match-best 25 digs to help her team to a .223 to .168 hitting advantage.
“We got off to another slow start and it came back to hurt us,” said UAA head coach Chris Green, whose program had not lost to the Falcons since 2012. “We never got into an offensive rhythm, and SPU played a much better defensive game than we did.”
A season-high crowd of 1,551 was quieted early when SPU broke open a 9-9 tie with eight straight points and ran away with the first set.
UAA turned the tables in the second, starting with a 7-1 run and extending its lead throughout.
After the Falcons controlled the third set, they had a chance to seal the win when they went ahead 17-15 in the fourth. Chrisalyn Johnson and Melton answered with back-to-back kills to tie it, though, and Melton picked up another kill as the Seawolves ran off nine straight points.
Even with their momentum, the Seawolves never led in the final set, falling behind 4-0. Boyer kept it tight with a kill to slice the deficit to 7-6, but that was as close as the hosts would get.
With three matches remaining in the regular season, the Seawolves finish their home schedule Saturday when they face Saint Martin’s (4-19, 2-15) at 7 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center. Visit AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com to purchase tickets.