With the start of Great Northwest Athletic Conference play less than a week away, the UAA volleyball team completed its nonconference slate with two matches Saturday in California.
Though the Seawolves played well in early sets, they fell 3-2 to Cal State-Dominguez Hills and 3-0 to UC San Diego to finish the UC-San Diego Invitational with a 1-3 record.
UAA's strong start was good enough to win the second and third sets against Cal State-Dominguez Hills in an afternoon match, but the Toros bounced back to take the last two sets for a 25-22, 17-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-6 win.
"We played very well in game's one, two and three," UAA coach Chris Green said.
Kaitlynn Zanders led the Seawolves (6-5) with 20 kills and Julia Mackey smacked 15. Siobhan Johansen dished 33 assists, and Quinn Barker tossed in 25 digs.
UAA failed to find a spark in the evening match with UC San Diego, falling 25-15, 25-20, 25-23 behind a rough outing from Zanders and Mackey.
"We just didn't show up mentally ready to play," Green said. "San Diego's a big team and they block really well. They have to be able to get around that block."
Zanders and Mackey only managed a combined nine kills against the Titans. Zanders finished with a .000 hitting percentage and Mackey recorded a -.125 hitting percentage.
Saturday's opponents were the toughest the Seawolves faced in the two-day tournament, Green said. There were three Division-I transfers on the roster for Cal State-Dominguez. Playing highly competitive teams can be a plus when preparing for conference play.
"We probably played the toughest non-conference schedule of anyone in the GNAC," Green said.
GNAC play begins Thursday with a home match against Seattle Pacific (4-4) and continues when UAA hosts Montana State-Billings (2-6) on Saturday. If Saturday's late match with UC San Diego is a sign of things to come, Green said the Seawolves could be in trouble. If the afternoon match with Cal State-Dominguez turns out to be a better indicator, UAA will be in for a good season.
"At 2:30, we were a team that could compete for a championship, so it just depends on which team shows up," Green said.