PORTLAND, Ore. – Alaska Anchorage senior middle blocker Tara Melton blasted two of her career-high 17 kills in the final three rallies Saturday to cap a 25-16, 25-20, 21-25, 29-27 volleyball victory over Concordia-Portland at LCEF Court.
The Seawolves (19-5, 12-4 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) got a big all-around effort from senior outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson, who had 17 kills and 15 digs, while Oregon native Vanessa Boyer notched a career-high 17 kills as well.
Concordia (10-13, 7-9) was led by 16 kills and nine digs from outside hitter Jessica Wheeler, but the Cavaliers were outhit .298 to .196 and could not capitalize on three set points in the fourth set.
UAA improved 8-0 all-time against Concordia, including 4-0 in Portland.
“We played well, other than the third set, and we were able to fight hard and get an important win against a dangerous opponent today,” said UAA head coach Chris Green, whose team is No. 6 in the NCAA Div. II West Region rankings. “Tara played at a high level, especially in that fourth set when she kept delivering in crunch time, and her teammates made some impressive digs to extend some of those late rallies.”
After controlling the first two sets, the Seawolves fell behind midway through the third and never recovered in the frame.
The fourth would be a classic, especially for Melton, who racked up 10 kills in the set, including nine in the last 30 rallies. After three straight Melton kills made it 17-11, the Cavaliers slowly chipped away and grabbed a 22-21 lead when Elyssa Rose and Tori Johnson blocked Boyer. The teams traded points from there, with UAA claiming its first match point at 25-24 on a Melton kill.
Concordia got a kill and an ace to earn its second set point, but Melton answered again on an assist from freshman Ellen Floyd. A Weaver kill gave the hosts a 27-26 advantage before Melton delivered down the right side, and UAA earned its third chance at match point when Weaver hit an attack wide. Melton capped the final long rally when she blasted the clincher down the right line and off a Cavs defender.
Melton committed just two attack errors to hit a match-high .536, along with a team-high five block assists. Johnson’s 13th double-double of the season came on .268 hitting, and Boyer – playing an hour north of her hometown of Salem – hit .208 as she topped her previous best of 15 kills.
Floyd finished one assist shy of her career high with 56, along with 10 digs and four block assists, and freshman right-side hitter Eve Stephens had six of her 15 kills in the fourth set.
Senior libero Taylor Noga notched her ninth 20-plus effort of the season with 25 digs, moving into eighth place on UAA’s career list with 1,084. Noga also earned her 99th victory in a Seawolf uniform, drawing within striking distance of former teammates Morgan Hooe (101 wins, 2013-16) and Erin Braun (103, 2013-16) atop that career list.
With four matches remaining in the regular season, UAA returns home for its home finales at the Alaska Airlines Center next week, facing Seattle Pacific on Thursday and Saint Martin’s on Saturday. First serve both nights is 7 p.m., with ‘senior night’ ceremonies planned prior to Saturday’s match. Call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com or AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com for tickets.
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