Sports

Alaska sports week in review: Dimond girls claim seventh straight swimming title and UAA volleyball breaks NCAA attendance record

november, ASAA, state championships, swimming, high school sports

This past week saw several impressive performances and exciting finishes at the prep, collegiate and amateur levels across the Alaska sports landscape. On the high school swimming front, the Dimond girls varsity team claimed its seventh state title and the Service boys varsity team won its third in the last five years. The University of Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team opened its 2022-23 season with a dominant performance, and the UAA volleyball squad completed another regular-season sweep and made history in the process.

Headlines and highlights

For the seventh year in a row, excluding the 2020 season when no state championship meet was held, the Dimond girls varsity swim team captured a state title. The Lynx rebounded from being upset by South in the region meet the week before by finishing in first place with 86 points. Colony came in second with 77 points. The Service boys dominated on their way to claiming their first state title since 2019 with 118 points which was more than twice as many as the next closest teams, Seward and Eagle River, which each had 51 points.

november, ASAA, state championships, swimming, high school sports

[Dimond girls, Service boys take state swim team titles]

The swimming team wasn’t the only Dimond girls program that won a title this past weekend. Less than a week after Halloween, the Lynx volleyball squad avoided a trio of early scares in the Region IV tournament on its way to claiming a regional title and securing the top seed in the Division I state volleyball tournament. They came from behind to beat Chugiak, West, and South in a second championship after initially losing its first finals match of the double elimination tournament.

[Dimond volleyball avoids an early scare from West to advance to regional title game]

Out in the Mat-Su, the Wasilla girls volleyball team claimed the Region III title by upsetting top-ranked Colony in four sets and avenging an opening-round loss to Kodiak that went five sets by sweeping the Bears in three straight.

In this week’s prep riflery action, Service defeated Bartlett on Friday. The Cougars were led by Sophie Wilts, who shot a 281 while the Golden Bears were led by Isabelle Stryken with a score of 273.

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Dimond High School hosted the annual Dimond A-1 Match on Saturday and had both its boys and girls shooters place in the top three. The top female and male shooters from each of the CIC schools are invited but this year there were only six schools represented by six girls and six boys.

Dale Kersten of South was the top male shooter and the 2022 Top Air Gun champion with a perfect score of 200 in the prone position and an all-around total of 568-29x. Isabelle Greidanus of Eagle River was the top female shooter with a total score of 561-22x.

In prep wrestling, last Wednesday quite a few lopsided dual meets that included South dominating West 68-3, Eagle River topping Dimond 60-6 and Soldotna overwhelming Kenai Central 72-3. In more tightly contested duals, Service and Chugiak grappled to a 36-36 tie, and North Pole edged out Lathrop 65-60.

Reigning Division I state boys hockey champion Dimond continued its strong start to its title defense with a commanding 7-1 win over Service on Saturday. Chris Horton led the Lynx in scoring with a pair of goals, one each in the second and third periods while Caden Coles scored the lone goal for the Cougars in the first period.

The UAA volleyball team set a new NCAA Division II single-game regular season attendance record 3,888

The UAA volleyball team played its last two home matches of the 2022 season this past week and won both to finish the year a perfect 13-0 on its homecourt. In the second of the two victories, they not only swept Central Washington in three straight sets but they also broke an NCAA attendance record for a single regular season volleyball match when 3,888 family, friends and classmates came out in a show of force for their “Pack the House” event that doubled as senior night.

[UAA volleyball shatters NCAA Division II attendance record on senior night in victory over Central Washington]

The Seawolves, ranked sixth nationally, were led to victory by star seniors Ellen Floyd and Eve Stephens, who swept the Great Northwest Athletic Conference weekly awards for the second time this season. Stephens earned the offensive honors for the seventh time this season and the record-extending-14th time in her illustrious career by leading the team with a match-high 21 kills and being responsible for 27 total points. Floyd brought home the defensive honors after recording both a match and career-high 24 digs in just three sets.

UAA sophomore Coleman Nash continued his domination on the collegiate cross country front by winning the conference title for the men’s division on his way to being named the GNAC Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year. He covered the 8K course in 23 minutes and 46 seconds to finish first and his teammate, Michael Zapherson, was named to the All-GNAC team after coming in sixth.

[UAA’s Nash wins GNAC cross country title]

The UAA women’s basketball team opened its 2022 season on the road in southern California on Sunday with a resounding 86-58 win over La Sierra. The Seawolves had four players record double-digit points and were led in both scoring and rebounds by senior forward newcomer Vishe’ Rabb, who recorded her first double-double as a Seawolf with 21 points and 15 boards.

The UAA men’s basketball team also traveled to southern California this past week for an exhibition game, and took Division I UC Irvine to overtime and came up just short 87-83 on Thursday. The Seawolves were fueled by an outstanding breakout game from Anchorage native Da’Zhon Wyche in just his third game playing for his hometown team. He recorded a team-leading and game-high 32 points in 32 minutes that included going 6-of-11 from behind the arc and led the team with five assists as well.

Last week’s results

Prep Wrestling

Wednesday

South 68, West 3

Eagle River 60, Dimond 6

Chugiak 36, Service 36

Bettye Davis East 42, Bartlett 21

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North Pole 65, Lathrop 60

Soldotna 72, Kenai Central 3

Prep Volleyball

Regional Tournament

Tuesday

Dimond 3, Bartlett 0 (25-11, 25-11,25-7)

West 3, Bettye Davis East 0 (25-22, 25-20,25-14)

Chugiak 3, Service 1 (25-14, 25-27, 24-26, 22-25)

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Thursday

Diamond 3, Chugiak 1 (23-25, 25-13, 25-12, 26-24)

Friday

Dimond 3, West 1 (19-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-21)

Saturday

South 3, Bettye Davis East (25-17, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 16-14)

Dimond 1, South 0 (30-24)

Riflery

Service 7, Bartlett 0

West 7 East 0

Dimond A-1 Match

Girls Relay Winners:

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1st place - Isabelle Greidanus, Eagle River

2nd place - Olivia Moncur, Chugiak

3rd place - Stormy Merrill, Dimond

Boys Relay Winners:

1st place - Dane Kersten, South

2nd place - Kolter Kalt, Dimond

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3rd place - Ahren Peterson, Service

Prep Hockey

Boys

Tuesday

Chugiak 3, West 1

Friday

Dimond 2, Chugiak 2

Saturday

Wasilla 3, South 0

Dimond 7, Service 1

College

Volleyball

Thursday

UAA 3, Northwest Nazarene 1 (24-26,25-17, 25-22, 25-22)

Saturday

UAA 3, Central Washington 0 (25-20, 28-26, 25-22)

Men’s Basketball

Thursday

UC Irvine 87, UAA 83

Women’s Basketball

Sunday

UAA 86, La Sierra 58

Hockey

Friday

Air Force 5, UAA 3

Saturday

Air Force 3, UAA 1

NAHL

Friday

Anchorage Wolverines 6, Fairbanks Ice Dogs 5 (OT)

Saturday

Fairbanks Ice Dogs 5, Anchorage Wolverines 4 (SO)

Sunday

Minnesota Wilderness 3, Anchorage Wolverines 1

Three things to watch for this week

Prep volleyball

State Championships, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at Alaska Airlines

The postseason for the high school volleyball season will come to a close this week with the state championship tournament. Top-ranked Dimond will be looking to claim its first state title since it won four straight from 2015-2018. Its competition will include regional rivals West and East, Northern Lights Conference champion Wasilla and runner-up Colony, and reigning state champion South.

Prep hockey

Tuesday

Dimond v Eagle River at Ben Boeke, 6:30 pm

The reigning Division I state champions will be back on the ice in town this week to take on the Wolves before heading out to the Mat-Su valley to take part in the Palmer Tournament. The Lynx will be looking to remain unbeaten after tying Chugiak and beating Service handedly last week.

Prep wrestling

Wednesday

Quad Duals at Chugiak and Bartlett

All the Cook Inlet Conference teams will be squaring off against each other this week in the fourth round of dual action with a pair of quads. Bartlett will host Service, West, and Eagle River while Chugiak hosts South, Dimond, and Bettye Davis East. Weigh-ins will be at 5 pm followed by Round 1 at 6 pm, Round 2 at 7:15 pm, Round 3 at 8:30 pm.

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

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