UAA spikers finish with win, wait for word on playoffs

The UAA volleyball team clinched second place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference on Saturday, sweeping host Seattle Pacific in its regular-season finale and virtually locking up a spot in the NCAA Division II West Regional tournament.

The Seawolves won Saturday's GNAC match 25-20, 25-23, 25-14 at Royal Brougham Pavilion in Seattle, where Katelynn Zanders led the attack with 21 kills and a .395 hitting percentage.

UAA (21-9, 15-3 GNAC) won't know if it's in the playoffs until the field is announced Monday, but the Seawolves entered the week as the seventh-ranked team in the region, and the top eight generally get in.

"We'll have to wait and see, but one would think we would definitely be in," UAA coach Chris Green said. "I've seen crazier things happen."

UAA finished second in the GNAC behind Western Washington (23-3, 16-2 GNAC), which closed the regular season with a sweep of Simon Fraser on Saturday to finish a match ahead of the Seawolves.

UAA played well Saturday, Green said, starting strong in the first set, fighting through a lull in the second set and pulling away with a strong third set.

The Seawolves trailed 22-20 in the second set before a kill from Erin Braun (six kills) sparked a rally. Serving was the key to the third set, Green said, as Seattle Pacific (15-11, 11-7) struggled to receive and fell behind early.

For the match, the Seawolves outhit the Falcons .342 to .162.

"We hit over .300 as a team and anytime you do that, it's a great offensive showing by us," Green said. "It was an all-around effort."

UAA's Brooke Pottle turned in her sixth double-double of the season with 11 kills and 12 digs, and Siobhan Johansen dished a team season-high 42 assists. Libero Quinn Barker tied her career high in digs with 25, and Braun tallied five blocks.

UAA closed the season on a three-match winning streak. The Seawolves earned a road sweep Montana State-Billings earlier this week, and swept Simon Fraser at home last weekend.

The Seawolves went undefeated in nine conference road matches this season, a program record. They also swept the season series with the Falcons for the first time since 2009.

If the Seawolves do make the NCAA tournament, it will be their fourth trip in the past five seasons.

"Last year, we didn't make it and it was a little bit of disappointment," Green said. "Getting back in is a step in the right direction. It'll be a good gauge to see how much we've improved."

The tournament begins Thursday at a site that will be announced Monday.

Anchorage Daily News