ANCHORAGE – Chrisalyn Johnson smashed 15 kills and Leah Swiss had 10 kills and 16 digs Saturday to lead the Alaska Anchorage volleyball team to a 25-16, 25-23, 25-14 win over Concordia-Portland at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The regionally 9th-ranked Seawolves (18-9, 13-5 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got 35 assists and three kills from freshman setter Casey Davenport, earning an important victory in their chase for a fifth straight NCAA Tournament berth.
The Cavaliers (12-13, 7-11) were led by 10 kills on .409 hitting and four total blocks from Colby Barnette, but were outhit .261 to .086 as a team and saw their 3-match winning streak stopped.
UAA overcame an 8-6 deficit in the first set with a 9-1 spurt, highlighted by back-to-back kills from sophomore middle blocker Vanessa Hayes.
The Seawolves had a tougher task in the second frame, facing deficits of 16-11 and 19-14. Davenport started the momentum back in UAA’s favor with a sneak attack to start a 7-0 run, and the drama would build until Swiss’s service error brought the visitors within 24-23. In an epic set point that featured 12 attacks and 11 digs, the Seawolves finally prevailed when Johnson pounded Davenport’s feed for a kill.
UAA outhit Concordia .216 to -.070 in the final frame to cap its sixth win in as many all-time meetings against the GNAC’s newest member.
“I was pleased with our play today, especially in the first and third sets,” said UAA head coach Chris Green. “Offensively, we looked like a team that deserves another chance at an NCAA Tournament berth, but it was our defense that really made the difference in that close second set.”
Johnson added three aces and eight digs as she reached the 15-kill plateau for the eighth time this year, while Swiss recorded her 14th double-double of the season and 35th of her career. Hayes had six kills on match-best .625 hitting, three total blocks, two aces and a career-high-tying six digs, while junior middle blocker Tara Melton earned six kills and three block assists.
The Seawolves play their final two regular-season matches next week when they host longtime rivals Alaska Fairbanks (Tuesday, Nov. 14, 7 p.m.) and Montana State Billings (Thursday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m.) at the Alaska Airlines Center. Call 907-786-1562 for tickets or visit GoSeawolves.com for more information.
NOTES: The Seawolves have now swept the Cavaliers in all three meetings at the Alaska Airlines Center … Swiss moved into the top 15 on UAA’s career digs list, now with 963 … Hayes rose to No. 16 on UAA’s career total blocks list with 213 and needs four more to catch Maya Athanas (217, 1992-94) for 15th place.