ANCHORAGE – Chrisalyn Johnson posted a double-double and the Alaska Anchorage volleyball team got career-high efforts from multiple players Thursday to pull out a 25-18, 21-25, 18-25, 25-21, 15-9 victory over Simon Fraser at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (10-6, 5-2 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) used 13 kills and a season-high 18 digs from Johnson as they rallied from 2-1 hole and finished the match with a 7-0 run. Junior middle blocker Tara Melton and senior right-side hitter Anais Vargas managed career highs with nine kills apiece, and junior outside hitter Leah Swiss racked up eight kills, 11 blocks and a career-high-tying six aces.
The Clan (6-9, 3-4) got a match-high 16 kills from middle blocker Tessa May and a 14-kill, 12-dig effort from outside hitter Betsie de Beer, but the NCAA’s lone Canadian program remained winless in 15 all-time matches against UAA, despite outhitting the hosts .169 to .163.
UAA rallied from an 8-2 deficit in the opening set with a 16-6 surge and claimed frame on a kill by freshman setter Casey Davenport. SFU would control the second and third sets, however, taking advantage of 35 digs from libero Jayme Bratsberg and 20 digs from defensive specialist Katerina Dolguikh.
SFU led 10-6 and 15-12 midway through the fourth before the Seawolves rallied to tie it 15-15 on a kill by Vargas. The visitors led 20-19 when Melton found the back corner with a well-placed attack and Davenport converted a sneak attack on a pass from Taylor Noga to flip the advantage. Davenport had another kill to make it 23-20 and fed Vanessa Hayes (7 kills) on the next point, before libero Keala Kaio-Perez committed a service error. Kaio-Perez would redeem herself on the following set point, though, pushing an attack into a vacant back corner for her first kill of the season.
The Seawolves went up 5-0 in a fifth set that featured big runs for both clubs. SFU used four straight points to take its lone lead of the frame at 9-8 on a smash by Mia Ricci, but Ricci hit the ball into the net on the next rally, and the Clan would not score again against the serve of Johnson.
Swiss had two kills – including match point – and Davenport tallied three assists and the first solo block of her career to propel the winning surge.
Davenport finished with career highs of 36 assists, 11 digs and two blocks as the Seawolves used a ‘5-1’ offensive set for the first time this year. Kaio-Perez made a team-high 21 digs for UAA.
Both teams played with makeshift lineups as UAA head coach Chris Green announced prior to the match that sophomore right-side hitter Diana Fa’amausili and sophomore setter Madison Fisher have been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. Simon Fraser played without leading hitter Kirsten Pinkney (2.98 kps), who suffered an injury in practice on Wednesday.
The Seawolves return to the Alaska Airlines Center on Saturday at 7 p.m. to face 11th-ranked Western Washington in a rematch of the 2016 NCAA Div. II West Region final. Call 907-786-1562 for tickets for visit GoSeawolves.com for complete information.
NOTES: The last two meetings between UAA and SFU have gone five sets after the Seawolves won 39 of the first 42 sets in the all-time series … Melton set a career high in kills for the second time in the last three matches … Vargas topped her previous career high by three kills and hit a team-high .318 on the night … Swiss and Kaio-Perez came into the match tied for the GNAC lead in aces per set and combined for 10 of UAA’s season-high-tying 12 aces … Swiss’s 6 aces tied her career high for the third time and moved her into a tie for No. 4 on UAA’s all-time list, equaling the 126 by Seawolf Hall of Famer Tracy Zink (1987-90).