ANCHORAGE – Senior outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson had 15 kills and 15 digs Friday to power the Alaska Anchorage volleyball team to a 25-19, 25-14, 24-26, 25-17 victory over Barton College in the UAA Invitational at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (2-0) also got nine kills and seven block assists from freshman middle blocker Eve Stephens in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
The Bulldogs (0-2) were led by 30 kills from outside hitter Kaytlin Elkins, who tallied exactly half of her team’s 144 attacks. No other Barton player collected more than five kills, however, as the defending Conference Carolinas champions were outblocked 14-5 and outhit .217 to .097.
“That was a scrappy win. We didn’t play as well, especially defensively, as we would’ve liked, but our block was huge and that was a big factor,” said UAA head coach Chris Green, whose team was picked fourth in last week’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference preseason poll. “We knew who we had to slow down – No. 6 (Elkins) – so we knew where we had to block and we did a good job for the most part. We had a good matchup in the fourth game with Eve against (Elkins), and that forced her to make a couple errors and we got a couple blocks on her.”
UAA dominated the first two sets behind the play of Johnson, who collected her 26th career double-double, and libero Anjoilyn Vreeland, who had a team-high 19 digs. Senior Tara Melton added six kills and six block assists to help the Seawolves hold the visitors from Wilson, N.C., to -.016 hitting through the opening two frames.
Barton avoided the sweep by fending off a set point and winning the final three rallies in the third, but UAA regained its footing and led throughout the fourth set. After having a 7-3 lead sliced to 11-10, the Seawolves won five of the next six rallies, capped by a solo block from Johnson. Senior outside hitter Taylor Noga made it 19-12 with one of her career-high nine kills, and Melton and sophomore Vera Pluharova would combine to stuff Barton’s Peyton Kendall on match point.
Pluharova had a pair of solos among her six total blocks, and Noga added 12 digs and two assists. The setting combo of freshman Ellen Floyd and sophomore Casey Davenport was also efficient, totaling 38 digs and 12 digs.
The Seawolves return to the Alaska Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday for the finale of the UAA Invitational when they host Michigan Tech. Call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com or AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com for tickets.