Crusaders snap Seawolf streak, 3-1
The Seawolves (11-6, 7-2 GNAC) saw their seven-match win streak come to an end despite a match-high 18 kills from senior outside hitter Jackie Matthisen, plus 15 kills on .542 hitting from sophomore middle blocker Robyn Burton.
The Crusaders (9-5, 6-3), meanwhile, used a balanced attack with four players notching between 10 and 14 kills. Setter Kaitlyn Tuholski tallied a triple-double to lead her team with 14 kills, 22 assists and 13 digs. She also had four total blocks and a .306 hitting percentage as NNU knocked the Seawolves out of a first-place tie in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings.
UAA entered the match knotted with Western Washington and one-half match ahead of 20th-ranked Seattle Pacific atop the GNAC, with those teams playing head-to-head tonight in Seattle.
After the first set was tied 18-18, the Crusaders rallied for seven of the next eight points to take the lead, then carried that momentum into a dominating second-set performance.
UAA recovered with a solid third frame, however, as Burton – the GNAC’s hitting percentage leader – and Matthisen helped the Seawolves maintain the advantage throughout.
The fourth set seemed to be in control for UAA as the Seawolves took the lead at 5-4 and held the Crusaders at bay until the late-going. Matthisen crushed a kill to give UAA three set points at 24-21, when the Crusaders responded with the next four rallies for a set-and-match point of their own.
A Miranda Doing kill kept UAA alive, but the Seawolves could never retake the lead. Tied 27-27, Siobhan Johansen committed a service error, and NNU’s Reisa Fessler placed the ensuing serve just inside the back line to end the match.
The Crusaders out-hit the Seawolves .289 to .212 as NNU made six few attack errors (22-16).
Matthisen ended up with her team-high eighth double-double of the season, tallying 16 digs, while junior outside hitter Nikkie Viotto had her second double-double in as many matches with 10 kills and 18 digs.
Junior setter Kimya Jafroudi tied her career-high with 51 assists, while Doing, a junior middle blocker, finished with six kills on just eight attempts and no errors for a .750 hitting percentage.
The Seawolves – now at the halfway point of the GNAC campaign – play five of their final nine matches at home, beginning Saturday, Oct. 15 against Alaska Fairbanks. First serve is 7 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.