A long trip that began with much hope and promise hit a big road bump Thursday for the nationally ranked UAA volleyball team, which lost its conference opener against Western Oregon in Monmouth, Ore.
The 22-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-23 defeat came in UAA's seventh match in seven days, a span during which the 23rd-ranked Seawolves faced three top-10 teams -- and knocked off one of them, second-ranked Cal State-San Bernardino.
They are 3-4 on the road trip to slip to 5-4 overall and, perhaps worst of all, 0-1 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference thanks to loss to Western Oregon.
The loss snapped a 12-match GNAC winning streak for the Seawolves, who get a chance to even their conference mark Saturday when they travel to Lacey, Wash., to face Saint Martin's.
After that, the Seawolves get to come home and prepare for a Sept. 19 match against the Nanooks of UAF at UAA's Wells Fargo Sports Complex. Expected to rejoin them is Cortney Lundberg, UAA's starting middle blocker who led the GNAC in blocks last season but missed the road trip with an injured ankle.
McKenzie Moss (16 kills, 14 digs) and Jackie Matthisen (13 kills, 11 digs, 5 blocks) both posted double-doubles Thursday for UAA, but the Seawolves were plagued by hitting errors -- they had 24 attack errors and 36 kills and finished with a low .084 attack percentage.
Leah McWilliams tied her career-high with seven block assists and Nikkie Viotto had a career-high 20 digs for UAA.
Western Oregon didn't exactly shine offensively, registering a .106 attack percentage that included 31 hitting errors, but Danielle Reese racked up 20 kills, enough to keep the Wolves (3-3, 1-0) going.
After scoring the final six points of the second set to even the match 1-1, Western Oregon twice held off UAA comebacks to win the third and fourth sets.