Overcoming a rough first set Thursday, the UAA volleyball team steadied itself and cruised to a 23-25, 25-13, 25-18, 25-15 win over Saint Martin's in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference match at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
The Seawolves, led by 47 assists, 13 digs and six aces from senior setter Kimya Jafroudi, got things rolling in the second set and used sharp serving to turn the tables on the Saints.
The Seawolves (13-5, 8-2 GNAC), finished with 14 aces. Besides the six from Jafroudi, who matched her career high, freshman Sarah Johnson served four to equal her career best.
"We knew they would have a hard time passing our serves, so we were kind of counting on that throughout the match," UAA coach Chris Green said.
Down 8-5 in the second set, Johnson sparked a 10-point UAA surge. She started things with a kill and then served nine straight points with a pair of aces.
The run was the start of a 70-40 scoring advantage for the Seawolves, whose survival of the shaky start earned them a third straight win.
Inconsistent play is nothing new for the team, junior middle blocker Jodi Huddleston said. It's a problem the Seawolves are working daily to remedy.
"Right now, we are kind of on a roller-coaster ride," she said.
Huddleston (10 kills) was one of four Seawolves to record double-digit kills and she owned the highest hitting percentage on the front line at .444. Freshmen Katelynn Zanders (17), Julia Mackey (12) and Johnson (10) were the others to reach double-digit kills.
As impressive as many of their high-flying, hard-hitting kills were, Green said the young hitters still have room to improve.
"We just need them to play more consistent," he said.
Saint Martin's (4-10, 2-7 GNAC), led by 13 assists from Halee Hernandez and seven kills apiece from Kristen Ross and Teilissa Tua, outhit UAA .300 to .186 in the first set, but was outhit .284 to .160 for the match.
The score was tied 13-13 in the third set before UAA pulled away. Saint Martin's hung tough for a 9-9 tie in the in the fourth set, but the Seawolves dominated the rest of the way, ending the match on a hard kill from Zanders.
"We pulled together and made it through, and that's all that matters," Huddleston said.
UAA plays at home again Saturday against Western Oregon.
Reach Jeremy Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
UAA volleyball stats
By JEREMY PETERS