UAA defeats Central Washington in four sets on the road

The UAA volleyball team continued its perfect start to Great Northwest Athletic Conference play Thursday, winning its third straight match in four sets at Central Washington in Ellensburg, Wash.

The Seawolves prevailed 25-15, 25-21, 12-25, 25-20 at Nicholson Pavilion, getting strong performances from outside hitters Katelynn Zanders and Julia Mackey, as well as libero Quinn Barker.

"The win here is huge for us," UAA coach Chris Green said. "A road win anywhere in the GNAC is big."

Coming off home wins last week against Seattle Pacific and Montana State-Billings, the Seawolves (9-6, 3-0 GNAC) kept momentum rolling in the first two sets against Central Washington (5-6, 1-2 GNAC), before the going got a little rocky in the last two sets.

"Games 1 and 2, we played really well," Green said. "Game 3 was kind of a disaster. I don't have an answer to why that happens."

The Seawolves lost their focus during the 10-minute intermission that followed the second set, Green said, and returned to the court to face a fired up opponent that didn't make a hitting error in the third set. Central Washington's hot third set gave way to a sloppy fourth from both teams.

Zanders led the Seawolves with her fourth double-double, which included 18 kills and 11 digs. Mackey was nearly flawless in the early going on her way to 12 kills. Barker reached the 20-dig mark for the third time this season, finishing with 21 digs, four assists, four aces and no service errors.

"She was reading the hitters very well," Green said of Barker. "She made some great digs."

Emmy Dolan's 11 kills led the Wildcats, who were nationally ranked all season prior to this week. Linden Firethorne added 10 kills in Central Washington's home opener.

The first set was tied 8-8 when back-to-back kills from Zanders and Jodi Huddleston sparked a 9-1 run for UAA. Zanders came up with three straight kills late in the second set to help the Seawolves pull away and close the set on two consecutive kills from Erin Braun.

The Seawolves fell behind early in the third set and, though Green said they played better near the end of the set, couldn't pull out of the hole. UAA bounced back to lead 6-1 early in the fourth set and was powered by strong play from Maureen Sabado (seven kills). She produced a kill and solo block on back-to-back plays to spark another 9-1 run for UAA.

UAA, which will close its two-match road trip Saturday at Northwest Nazarene (7-2, 3-0 GNAC) in Nampa, Idaho, also got a combined 45 assists and 10 digs from setters Siobhan Johansen and Morgan Hooe.

Anchorage Daily News