UAA sports: volleyball team opens GNAC season; runners rank in top 10

No more messing around for the UAA volleyball team.

Great Northwest Athletic Conference play begins Thursday with the Seawolves hosting Seattle Pacific and UAA will host Montana State-Billings on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.

UAA made it through nonconference play with a 6-6 record.

Seattle Pacific, which comes in with a 4-4 record, is historically a tough opponent for the Seawolves. UAA has won seven of the last 12 meetings with the Falcons, who own a 28-15 record in the all-time series and are 12-9 in Anchorage, where the Seawolves have proven strong in recent years.

Since Chris Green took over as coach in 2008, the Seawolves haven't lost consecutive matches at home and are 42-8 at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex since 2009.

Montana State-Billings (2-6) has struggled in Anchorage, winning just 4 of 24 matches here. UAA owns a 38-10 overall advantage against the Yellowjackets. Five of the last six UAA wins came via sweep, with Billings' last victory coming in 2009.

UAA has received strong play from its starting front line, which consists of middle blocker Jodi Huddleston and outside hitters Katelynn Zanders and Julia Mackey.

Huddleston, last season's GNAC newcomer of the year, is ranked sixth in hitting percentage (.306) and blocks per set (1.15). Zanders owns a team-high three double-doubles this season and is eighth in the GNAC with a 3.07 kills per set. Mackey is 10th in the league with a 3.00 kills per set and ranks 18th with an attack percentage of .225.

UAA runners rank in top 10

With two meets in the books, the UAA women's cross-country running team made the top five and the men's team cracked the top 10 in the first U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division II Cross Country National Coaches Polls.

The women are ranked No. 5, moving up two spots from their preseason ranking. The men held steady at No. 9.

Both teams started the season with dual-meet victories against BYU-Hawaii last month and stayed perfect with victories at the Chaminade Invitational in Hawaii earlier this month.

UAA's season continues with the Willamette Invitational in Salem, Ore., on Oct. 5.

Grand Valley is the top-ranked school on the women's side, and Adams State tops the men's rankings.

Anchorage Daily News