Coming off consecutive home defeats that snapped a nine-match winning streak to start the Great Northwest Athletic Conference season, the UAA volleyball team hit the road and found the cure for what ailed it.
Saint Martin's has for years now been soothing salve for the Seawolves.
So it was again Thursday night, when UAA swept Saint Martin's to wrap a sweep of the season series with the Saints for the sixth consecutive season. Those 12 consecutive wins mark UAA's longest winning streak against a conference opponent.
The Seawolves prospered, 25-21, 25-14, 25-20 behind a ruthless, efficient attack that racked a .325 hitting percentage.
The sweep at Capital High School in Olympia, Wash. -- a scheduling conflict at St. Martin's Marcus Pavilion prompted the change of venue and a site closer to the Seawolves' hotel than the St. Martin's campus -- came after UAA last week lost home matches to Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington.
"Losing at home -- and not just losing, but we didn't perform well took away our confidence -- so we really needed this,'' UAA coach Chris Green said in a telephone interivew.
UAA's win allowed it to maintain a one-half game lead atop the GNAC at 16-8 overall and 10-2 in conference. Western Washington (16-3, 9-2 GNAC) , ranked No. 8 nationally, remained on the Seawolves' heels by winning in four sets at Central Washington.
Sophomore Katelynn Zanders spearheaded UAA's attack with her team-high ninth double-double, delivering a match-high 15 kills and adding 10 digs. Senior Jodi Huddleston generated seven kills -- she did not commit a hitting error in 12 attempts -- and backed that up with five block assists.
In what Green called an all-around team victory, Siobhan Johansen (25 assists) and Morgan Hooe (14 assists) orchestrated the attack. Johansen also had seven digs, and Hooe furnished eight digs and two aces.
Caitlin McInerney chipped in a career-high six kills and four block assists, Brooke Pottle slammed eight kills and Quinn Barker contributed 18 digs.
Green said getting back on track was critical. Especially encouraging, he said, was that the Seawolves returned to the offensive strength they've shown the majority of the season.
He said the team eschewed weight workouts prior to the road trip, which continues Saturday at Western Oregon in Monmouth, and spent that time on the court, where work on fundamentals sharpened the Seawolves.
Kristyn Ross led the Saints with 12 kills and Candice Pedroza added 27 assists, seven digs and two aces.