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UAA Athletics

Seawolves notebook: It’s rivalry weekend for hockey and women’s hoops

UAA hockey coach Matt Thomas talks to his team during practice on Wednesday at Sullivan Arena. (Marc Lester / ADN)

It's a full-fledged rivalry weekend for UAA and UAF with Governor's Cup hockey in Anchorage and a women's basketball showdown in Fairbanks.

The Seawolves hockey squad is looking for its first win against the Nanooks this season after dropping two games in October in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association rivalry.

UAA hosts UAF Friday and Saturday at Sullivan Arena. The teams will play each other six times this season.

"Not only do we already have two games under our belt in terms of knowing what to expect from them, but if there's two teams in college hockey that know each other inside and out, it's the two Alaska teams," UAA coach Matt Thomas said. "They're fun games to play in."

UAA (1-9-4, 1-4-3 WCHA) dropped to last place in the 10-team conference last week after falling twice to Ferris State, 2-0 Friday and 5-2 Saturday.

The Seawolves have nine points in the WCHA standings, one behind ninth-place Bemidji State. Bowling Green leads the conference with 24 points.

The Friday loss was UAA's first shutout loss of the season.

In the Saturday game, UAA battled back to tie the game at 2-2 with two goals in a 32-second span in the second period. Senior Austin Azurdia scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season followed by Corey Renwick's first-career goal moments later.

Ferris State pulled away with three goals in the third period.

Despite the losses, Thomas said he likes the way the Seawolves have been playing.

"I think last weekend could have been different in terms of results if a few pucks would've went into the back of the net at key times for us," he said. "We've got a good feel about our team right now — we're executing our game plan for the most part."

UAA women retain No. 2 basketball ranking

The Seawolves are ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II for the third straight week heading into Saturday's women's basketball game against UAF in Fairbanks.

The Seawolves and Nanooks enter the rivalry contest on opposite sides of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings. UAA is undefeated at 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference, while UAF is 2-4 overall and 0-2 in league play.

But UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said his team isn't overlooking its rivals.

"Fairbanks is always an interesting game," McCarthy said at UAA's weekly press conference. "I actually found out an interesting fact that we're 41-6 against Fairbanks at home, but 25-24 on the road.

"It's always a tough game."

The Seawolves are winning their games by an average of 23 points per game — by far the best in the GNAC.

Junior forward Hannah Wandersee is pacing UAA with 17.1 points — good for third in the GNAC — and 6.8 rebounds per game. Wandersee's 57.8 field goal percentage is second best in the league.

In the national rankings, the Seawolves only trail No. 1 Ashland (Ohio) — the defending Division II champion. Ashland is 8-0 on the season.

Gymnastics to open with Green and Gold meet

First-year UAA gymnastics coach Tanya Ho will get her first glimpse of her team in action Saturday in the Green and Gold meet at the Alaska Airlines Center.

The Seawolves boast 11 returners and four freshmen this season.

"I'm excited to see how the team performs under pressure," Ho said. "They've worked really hard in the gym and I think them putting all those routines in … it should be a little easier now to compete in front of a live audience."

Ho is only the second UAA gymnastics coach in program history. She joined the team over the summer after former UAA coach Paul Stoklos retired after 33 years at the helm.

One of UAA's top returners this season is senior Kendra Daniels, who broke a 21-year-old UAA beam record with a 9.9 Feb. 19 at UC Davis.

Swiss named honorable mention All-American

After being snubbed in the West Region honors, UAA junior Leah Swiss was named an honorable mention Division II All-American this week by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

The 6-foot outside hitter was instrumental in the Seawolves making their fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance and a 19-11 record this season. UAA fell to Western Washington in four sets in the first round of the tournament last week.

Swiss, a Dimond High grad, ranked sixth in the GNAC with 4.09 points per set and second with 0.43 aces per set this season.

Swiss was a second-team All-America pick by the Division II Conference Commissioners Association last season as a sophomore in 2016, when she when she helped the Seawolves win a second straight GNAC title and advance to the NCAA national championship, where UAA finished runner-up.

HOCKEY

Last week
Ferris State 2, UAA 0
Ferris State 5, UAA 2

This week
Governor's Cup
Friday — UAA vs. UAF, 7:07 p.m., Alaska Airlines Center
Saturday — UAA vs. UAF, 7:07 p.m., Alaska Airlines Center

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Last week
UAA 70, Central Washington 58
UAA 78, Northwest Nazarene 68

This week
Saturday — UAA at UAF, 7:30 p.m., Patty Center, Fairbanks

MEN'S BASKETBALL

Last week
UAA 65, UAF 39
UAA 74, Montana State-Billings 62

This week
Cal Miramar 61, UAA 59, exhibition
Wednesday — UAA vs. Cal Miramar

GYMNASTICS

This week
Saturday — Green and Gold intrasquad exhibition, 2 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL

Last week
West Region championships
Western Washington 3, UAA 1 (26-24, 23-25, 25-18, 25-18)

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