ANCHORAGE - The 20th-ranked Alaska Anchorage volleyball got big efforts from its three offensive stars Saturday to earn its fifth straight victory, knocking off Seattle Pacific 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22 at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (9-4, 4-0 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) were led by 16 kills apiece from junior Chrisalyn Johnson and sophomore Diana Fa’amausili, while junior Leah Swiss delivered 14 digs, four aces and 12 kills, including the match-point clincher.
The Falcons (7-5, 2-2) got match highs of 18 kills from Gabby Oddo and 31 digs from libero Amanda Ganete, but the visitors were outhit .205 to .130 and could not capitalize on 14 Seawolf service errors.
UAA led throughout the first set and seemed to be cruising when Vanessa Hayes smashed a kill for a 19-14 lead in the second set. SPU answered with six straight rallies, however, and the frame was tied at 21-21 before Tara Melton smashed an unassisted kill down the middle. Leading 23-22, Fa’amausili notched a kill, followed by a Melton-Swiss block on set point.
The Seawolves never seemed to get their footing in the third set and were extended to a fourth when the Falcons closed it out with a kill by Olivia Turner and a setting error on UAA.
Tied 21-21 in the fourth, Melton put away an SPU overpass and Fa’amausili ripped her final kill to put the Seawolves in control. The Falcons repelled one match point, but Swiss’s final attack went off the block and out of bounds to give the two-time defending GNAC champs the victory.
“We serve aggressively, but unfortunately this is one of the nights when it almost came back to hurt us,” said UAA head coach Chris Green, whose team leads the GNAC with 2.06 aces per set. “Luckily we showed enough poise at the right times in the fourth set to pull out the win.”
In the 52nd all-time meeting between the rivals, UAA stretched its series-best win streak to nine matches, including five straight in Anchorage.
Saturday’s result sets up a showdown Thursday between the only remaining unbeaten teams in GNAC play when UAA visits No. 16 Northwest Nazarene (12-0, 4-0) in Nampa, Idaho, at 5 p.m. ADT.
NOTES: All nine wins in UAA’s current series streak have come in three or four sets … Fa’amausili matched her season high in kills and came one shy of her career high … Johnson notched two solo blocks for the second time in her career … Swiss posted her sixth double-double this season and 27th of her career … Swiss became just the second player in Seawolf history to rack up at least 900 career kills (909) and 115 career aces (118), joining Seawolf Hall of Famer Jen Szczerbinski … Swiss is now one ace shy of No. 6 and three shy of No. 5 on UAA’s career list … Saturday’s attendance of 1,415 was a season-high and the 13th-largest crowd in program history; it was also the largest crowd ever to watch at UAA-SPU match.