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Leah Swiss, one of UAA volleyball’s all-time greats, will skip senior season

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: April 25
  • Published April 25

Leah Swiss, who ranks fourth on UAA’s all-time kill list, won’t return for her senior season. (Bob Hallinen / ADN archives)

Leah Swiss, the multi-talented, two-time All-America player for the UAA volleyball team, is not returning for her senior season, coach Chris Green said Wednesday.

"She decided not to come back. She decided that she was going to pursue academic interests," Green said.

A 6-foot outside hitter from Dimond High, Swiss has been an offensive and defensive mainstay for the Seawolves since her freshman season.

One of two players in program history with at least 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs, Swiss ranks fourth on UAA's all-time kill list with 1,172, second in aces with 143 and 13th in digs with 1,002.

She was an honorable mention All-America selection last year as a junior and was a second-team All-America pick as a sophomore in 2016, when she helped the Seawolves to the championship match in the NCAA Division II tournament. The second-place finish is the highest in UAA history.

"It's a huge loss for us," Green said.

Green said Swiss told him in January that she wasn't coming back for her senior season. The Daily News wasn't able to reach Swiss for comment Wednesday.

Swiss, who took a redshirt season in year first year at UAA, is a star in the classroom who at the end of the 2017 season earned West Region academic honors. At the time, she carried a 3.62 grade-point average in global logistics and supply chain management.

In her junior season of volleyball, Swiss averaged 3.4 kills and 2.84 digs per set and posted an attack percentage of .219. She delivered a team-high 415 kills and had double-doubles in 16 of 30 matches for the 19-11 Seawolves.

"She was a big part of our offense last year, and not only that she did some nice things on serve-receive as well," Green said.

With Swiss gone, the Seawolves will continue to rely on 5-8 senior-to-be Chrisalyn Johnson, a proven outside hitter who last season ranked second to Swiss in kills with 372 total and 3.05 per set.

And 5-11 middle hitter Vanessa Hayes, who ranked third in kills last season with 200, spent much of the recently concluded spring practice period playing outside hitter "and she's done a nice job."

The Seawolves on Tuesday announced the addition of five new players, including 5-8 Hannah Pembroke, who hit .326 with 3.15 kills per set in her final season at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, California.

"She is a high-flyer," Green said. "She's not very tall, but she has a great vertical jump so we're hoping she can help fill the void."

Other additions announced Tuesday include 5-8 outside hitter Katie Hoeffner of Appleton, Wisconsin; 5-7 outside hitter Talie Leauanae of Kula, Hawaii; 5-8 setter/defensive specialist Maggie Schleuter of Georgetown, Texas and 5-4 libero Julia Izquierdo of Los Angeles.

Two other newcomers signed with the Seawolves last fall — 6-0 middle blocker Eve Stephens of Colony and 5-9 setter Ellen Floyd of Pensacola, Florida.

All but Izquierdo, who has two years of junior college experience at Pierce College of Los Angeles, will be freshmen.

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