IRVINE, Calif. – Freshman Eve Stephens and senior Tara Melton both delivered career-high kills totals Saturday to help Alaska Anchorage rally for a 22-25, 25-15, 26-24, 25-17 victory over Notre Dame de Namur in the D2 West Region Volleyball Showcase at Concordia University Arena.
Taking the court five hours after suffering their first loss of the season, the Seawolves (6-1) got 19 kills from Stephens and 14 kills from Melton, while outside hitters Chrisalyn Johnson and Vanessa Boyer each had double-doubles, combining for 25 kills and 25 digs.
The Argonauts (1-7) were led by 21 kills on .309 hitting from outside hitter Rowan Jack, but the Pacific West Conference club could not take advantage of a golden opportunity late in the third set.
With NDNU up 23-20 and the match tied 1-1, UAA answered with a block by Stephens and Vera Pluharova and a kill from Johnson. After an NDNU attack sailed wide, Stephens gave the Seawolves the lead with a blistering kill down the middle. The Argos fought off one set point, but Stephens answered with back-to-back kills to clinch the frame.
UAA carried its momentum into the fourth, jumping to a 14-3 lead that included four kills from Stephens. The Colony High product’s 19 kills marked just the third time in seven seasons that a Seawolf freshman has reached that mark, joining former All-Americans Katelynn Zanders and Leah Swiss.
“We shook up our lineup a little bit today, trying to find a spark,” said UAA head coach Chris Green, whose team is now finished with Div. II non-conference opponents for the regular season. “We played very well in the fourth set, but it was all made possible by that comeback in the third. It could have been a very rough day, so I’m glad we found a way to recover from whatever seemed to affect us in the first match (a 3-0 loss to Cal State East Bay) and in the first set against NDNU.”
Johnson recorded her fourth double-double of 2018 with 13 kills and 13 digs, while Boyer’s 12 kills and 12 digs were good for her first career double-double, plus a career-high in digs for the second time in three matches.
Moving from right-side hitter to libero midway through the match, senior Taylor Noga made a career-high 22 digs and matched her personal best with four aces.
The Seawolves finished with a whopping 58-31 advantage in assists, with freshman Ellen Floyd dishing a UAA season-best 35 assists.
UAA returns to the Alaska Airlines Center to start Great Northwest Athletic Conference play next week against rivals Northwest Nazarene (Thur., Sept. 6, 7 p.m.) and Central Washington (Sat., Sept. 8, 7 p.m.). Call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com or AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com for tickets.
Cal State East Bay 3, UAA 0
The Seawolves struggled against a hot-hitting Cal State East Bay squad, suffering their first loss of the season, 25-15, 25-17, 25-20, in a match that started at 8:30 a.m. local time.
Senior Chrisalyn Johnson had a team-high 10 kills and junior Vanessa Boyer connected for eight kills on .300 hitting, but UAA (5-1) never led for a point, falling behind by big scores in the first and second sets.
The Pioneers (4-3) were led by 12 kills from Kiki Leuteneker and 11 kills on .612 hitting from Deja Thompson as the California Collegiate Athletic Association squad outhit the Seawolves .402 to .151.
The match marked the first meeting between the two programs.