The UAA volleyball team put together one rally but Northwest Nazarene came up with three Thursday to turn back the Seawolves in four sets in Nampa, Idaho.
The Crusaders won the final three sets by a total of seven points to prevail 20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference match.
The loss came in UAA's penultimate match of the season. The Seawolves wrap things up Saturday at Central Washington, and win or lose, they're done after that. At 16-9 overall and 11-6, UAA will miss the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
A freshman and a senior sparked UAA's hitting attack. Julia Mackey, a freshman from Fairbanks, blasted 15 kills, and Nikkie Viotto, a senior from Eagle River, tallied a season-high 13.
Sarah Johnson, a freshman from Anchorage, finished one kill short of a double-double with 16 digs and nine kills.
Northwest Nazarene (14-14, 7-10) countered with a balanced attack. Six players registered kills, with Becky Flores and Carly Dranginis each getting 10, and Elayna Rice and Michelle Terpstra each getting nine. Another had eight and another added six.
The match was close throughout.
UAA trailed early in the first set before scoring the final seven points, including set point on a thundering kill by Mackey, to erase a 20-18 deficit.
In each of the subsequent sets, however, it was the Crusaders who came from behind.
In the second set, UAA led 20-19. After tying it 22-22, Nazarene got consecutive kills from Terpstra and Dranginis to go up 24-22. UAA fended off set point once with a Viotto kill, but another kill from Dranginis ended it.
In the third set, UAA led 18-15 but again Nazarene came back to tie it at 22-22. The Crusaders scored the final three points on two Heather Allen kills and a set-point kill by Flores.
In the fourth set, UAA's lead was 19-16 before Nazarene came back to tie it 19-19. The score was tied three more times after that, including the last time at 23-23, before a hitting error by Mackey and a kill by Allen gave the victory to the Crusaders.
3 Seawolves honored
Nikkie Viotto led a trio of UAA volleyball players named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Academic Volleyball Team Thursday.
Viotto recorded a 3.82 GPA, followed by Siobhan Johansen's 3.63 and Jordan Bush's 3.58.
The all-league academic honor was the third for Viotto, a strategic communications major. The senior outside hitter from Eagle River ranks in UAA's career top 20 in digs, aces, sets played and matches played.
For Johansen, an English major from Palmer, this was her second career honor. The junior libero/setter currently leads UAA with 4.43 digs per set. Bush, a sophomore nutrition major from Graham, Wash., was honored for the first time.
A 3.20 GPA is required to be eligible for the academic team and students must be in at least their second year at their university.
Anchorage Daily News