The UAA volleyball team won’t go undefeated in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference this season.
Despite an impressive first set against Northwest Nazarene on Thursday, the Seawolves suffered their first conference loss, falling 17-25, 25-23, 25-9, 25-22 at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex. The defeat ended a nine-match winning streak.
“I think Game 2 was a turning point,” Green said. “We missed five serves. Maybe if we win that second game, things are different.”
UAA (15-7, 9-1 GNAC), was coming off a big win over eighth-ranked Western Washington last weekend and outhit Nazarene .205 to .083 in the first set. A tight second set gave way to an ugly third in which the Seawolves were outhit .609 to .000.
“In Game 3, they outplayed us,” Green said. “They played very well and our hitters just couldn’t get the job done. They have a big block.”
The third set also included some uncharacteristic errors for the Seawolves, who watched one ball drop to the floor due to lack of communication. Four players finished with negative hitting percentages in that set as the Seawolves committed seven of their 27 hitting errors.
UAA was playing without outside hitter Julia Mackey, who sat out with a knee injury. Mackey was averaging a team-best 3.23 kills per set and her high-flying spikes were noticeably absent.
Katelynn Zanders, last week’s GNAC offensive player of the week, led UAA with 18 kills on 56 attempts, finding some trouble late in the match against the Nazarene blockers.
Nazarene (11-5, 7-3 GNAC), led by 15 kills by Elayna Rice and 37 assists from Michelle Terpstra, opened the fourth set on a 6-2 run and led the rest of the way.
UAA appeared to regain form, clawing to within 20-18 amid chilling cheers of “UAA,” but Nazarene, which lost in four sets last month to UAA in Nampa, Idaho, notched two consecutive kills to lead 22-18 on its way to closing the match.
“It’s a great win for us, I’m not gonna lie,” said first-year Nazarene coach Doug English. “I’m really disappointed for them that (Julia Mackey) is injured. That’s a huge loss for them.”
To make up for Mackey’s absence, UAA used middle-hitter Caitlin McLnerney on the outside and made some other minor positioning adjustments, said UAA’s Maureen Sabado, who pounded some impressive kills in the early going.
“No one was in their normal set up,” Sabado said. “We are just getting used to it.”
The loss will propel the Seawolves forward, said senior setter Siobhan Johansen.
“We just needed to come together a little more and play a more focused game,” she said. “Everyone just had a little bit of a rough day, so we just need to work together as a team next time.”
UAA will take on Central Washington at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Seawolves won last month’s encounter with the Wildcats in four sets.
Reach Jeremy Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
By JEREMY PETERS