For the second time this season, the UAA and UAF volleyball teams played an epic five-set match, and for the second time this season, the Seawolves came out on top.
UAA outlasted the Nanooks 25-20, 23-25, 29-26, 18-25, 15-13 Saturday in Fairbanks in a match that left stat-keepers almost as exhausted as the players.
The match featured 377 attack attempts, 174 digs, more than 100 serves and more than a couple of comebacks. It ended after 2 hours and 29 minutes on a kill from Julia Mackey, a freshman from Fairbanks who scored match-point for UAA.
The win clinched a fifth consecutive winning season for fifth-year coach Chris Green and the Seawolves (13-6 overall, 8-3 Great Northwest Athletic Conference), who trail league-leading Western Washington by 1.5 matches.
Mackey, a West Valley graduate, was one of three freshmen to post double digits kills for UAA. Katelynn Zanders ripped a match-high 17 and Sarah Johnson recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 12 kills and 14 digs.
UAA setter Kimya Jafroudi had a double-double too — she came up with 11 digs while handing out 54 assists.
The Nanooks (4-14, 2-10) got 15 kills and 12 digs from Sam Harthun and racked up 91 digs, a total that included 29 from Allison Oddy.
UAA’s 83 digs included a career-high 32 from libero Siobhan Johansen.
After splitting the first two sets, the teams played a marathon third set that was prolonged by UAF’s inability to finish the Seawolves. The Nanooks had four chances at set point and failed each time. UAA scored the final three points to take the set.
UAF trailed 10-6 in the fifth set before rallying for a 12-10 lead. UAF was clinging to a 13-12 lead when UAA scored three straight points to escape UAF’s Patty Center with the win.
The Seawolves face nationally ranked Western Washington in a key GNAC match Thursday in Bellingham, Wash. They play Simon Fraser in British Columbia on Saturday.