ANCHORAGE – Senior Chrisalyn Johnson had 14 digs and sophomore Vera Pluharova posted seven total blocks Saturday to lead a dominant Alaska Anchorage defensive effort in a 25-20, 25-5, 25-21 volleyball sweep of Simon Fraser at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (17-5, 10-4 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got a match-high nine kills – including match point – from junior outside hitter Vanessa Boyer as they outhit the visitors .224 to -.008 and outblocked them 8-1.
The Clan (10-10, 7-7) were led by six kills from Kirsten Pinckney and 13 digs from Jayme Bratsberg, but the NCAA’s lone Canadian program fell to 1-17 all-time against UAA and 0-9 in Anchorage.
“Our blockers did a really good job of getting a touch on Simon Fraser’s attacks and making it a lot easier for our back row players to get easy digs,” said UAA head coach Chris Green, whose team remains tied with Central Washington for second place in the 11-team GNAC. “Any time you can hold an opponent – especially a quality opponent like tonight’s – to negative hitting, you’ve accomplished something impressive.”
The Seawolves led from start to finish in the first set, with Boyer racking up five of her kills in the opening frame. A Betsie de Beer kill brought the Clan within 23-20, but Seawolf setter Ellen Floyd found Boyer for a kill on the next rally, and the freshman from Pensacola, Fla., finished it with an ace.
That momentum carried over to the second set when the Seawolves hit .500 (12 kills-0 errors-24 attacks) and held the Clan to a -.172 (4-9-29) figure. The 5-point defensive effort matched UAA’s program record for the fewest allowed in sets 1 through 4 since college volleyball went to the 25-point, rally-scoring system in 2008, tying the mark set Aug. 29, 2008 against Ohio Valley. It was also the fewest allowed by UAA in a GNAC match.
UAA trailed just once all night, falling behind 17-16 on a kill by Pinckney late in the third set. Johnson responded with one of her eight kills, however, and the Seawolves took the lead for good at 21-20 on a Clan attack error. Pluharova made it 23-20 with one of her two solo blocks, and Boyer capped the victory with a spike on a nice set by Johnson.
Johnson had eight kills, three assists and three block assists, while freshman right-side hitter Eve Stephens delivered seven kills on .375 hitting. Floyd dished 26 assists, and senior libero Taylor Noga had 12 digs as she moved into 10th place on UAA’s career list, now with 1,042.
Sophomore defensive specialist added three aces, no service errors and six digs in the victory, while senior middle blocker Tara Melton tallied four kills on .333 hitting and a career-high six digs.
With just six matches remaining in the regular season, the Seawolves return to the road next week to face Western Oregon on Thursday, Oct. 25 (6 p.m. ADT) and Concordia-Portland on Saturday, Oct. 27 (1 p.m. ADT). Both matches can be seen live at gnac.tv.