SEATTLE – Junior outside hitter Leah Swiss passed the 1,000 career kills mark in style Thursday, blasting a season-high 23 kills to lead the Alaska Anchorage volleyball team to a 25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-6 victory over Seattle Pacific at Royal Brougham Pavilion.
Junior Chrisalyn Johnson notched 17 kills, 13 digs and five block assists for the Seawolves (13-7, 8-3 Great Northwest Athletic Conference), propelling an 11-2 surge to end the match, and freshman setter Casey Davenport recorded 46 assists, five kills and a career-high 21 digs.
The Falcons (10-9, 5-6) were led by 21 kills and 15 digs from outside hitter Gabby Oddo, but the hosts were outhit .174 to .069 and outdug 96-76 as they lost for the 10th straight time in the series and sixth straight time at home to UAA.
Tied one set apiece, the Seawolves trailed much of the third and faced a 21-16 deficit when Shaun Crespi blocked a Johnson attack. Three straight Falcon errors opened the door, however, and Swiss capped a 4-0 surge with a kill. Vanessa Hayes gave UAA the lead with a kill at 23-22, and the Seawolves finished the 9-1 run on another SPU attack error and a kill by Davenport.
A late UAA comeback came up short in the fourth, but the visitors dominated the fifth set. Tied 4-4 in the decisive frame, Johnson earned a kill and teamed with Tara Melton for a block to spark a 6-0 run. The Falcons would score just two more points, and Melton and Swiss finished with consecutive kills on the final two rallies.
“This was a difficult match against maybe the most improved team in our league,” said UAA head coach Chris Green. “We did a nice job of withstanding their runs and took control there in the fifth. Leah was really zoned in offensively most of the night, and it was encouraging to see us come up with a big edge in digs with some improved play along the back row.”
Swiss – a two-time All-GNAC pick and 2016 All-American – entered the night needing 11 kills to become the eighth Seawolf to reach 1,000 kills, and did so late in the second set. Her 23 kills were one more than UAA’s previous best this season and now tie her with Sabrina Bingham (1996-99) for seventh place on the all-time list with 1,012.
Hayes hit a match-best .412 and served a pair of aces, while Melton recorded a match-high seven block assists. Senior libero Keala Kaio-Perez had a match-high 28 digs, plus seven assists and two aces. Junior defensive specialist Taylor Noga was clutch along the back row as well with 15 digs – one shy of her season high.
Winners of three in a row, the Seawolves conclude their 4-match road swing Saturday with a 6 p.m. ADT contests against Saint Martin’s in Lacey, Wash. The match can be seen for free at GNAC.tv.
NOTES: Thursday’s match marked the beginning of the second half of the GNAC campaign … Swiss also had 11 digs to earn her second straight and team-high ninth double-double this season, while Johnson posted her fifth double-double of the campaign … Swiss needs 12 more kills to catch Brianne McCabe (1,024 kills, 1999-2002) for sixth on the UAA career list … Johnson moved into 20th place on UAA’s career kills list, now with 652 … Hayes had three block assists to push her career total to 175, good for 15th on the UAA career list in just 57 matches.