UAA Athletics

Alaskans in the spotlight when UAA volleyball team hosts UAF

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: September 9, 2018
  • Published September 9, 2018

When the Seawolves and Nanooks meet in a volleyball match Tuesday night at the Alaska Airlines Center, both teams will be coming off losses.

Don't be fooled though. UAA is the favorite in the 7 p.m. Great Northwest Athletic Conference match.

UAA owns a 15-match winning streak against the Nanooks and is 7-2 this season (1-1 GNAC). UAF is 2-7, 0-2.

Both teams hosted Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington last week. Central Washington left Fairbanks with a sweep and Northwest Nazarene left with its first win of the season; in Anchorage, Central Washington escaped with a five-set victory and Northwest Nazarene suffered a sweep.

Tuesday's match could provide a showcase for several Alaskans — each team has four on its roster, including several who are team leaders.

Leading UAF is 5-foot-11 redshirt sophomore Tatum Upchurch of South High, who has recorded four double-doubles in nine matches. She ranks second for the Nanooks in kills (3.09 per set) and fourth in digs (2.47 per set).

Emily Moorhead of Chugiak, a 5-11 middle blocker, is ranked second in blocks and fifth in kills for UAF (22 total blocks, 1.12 kills per set). The Nanooks' other Alaskans — sophomore Sarina Mancari and freshman Zoey Keene, both of South — have seen limited action.

For the Seawolves, Alaskans rank 1-2 in kills and digs.

In kills, senior outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson of Dimond is No. 1 with 2.83 per set and freshman middle blocker Eve Stephens of Colony is No. 2 with 2.51. In digs, sophomore Anjoilyn Vreeland of Dimond averages a team-high 4.54 digs per set and senior Taylor Noga of East is second with 3.40.

Johnson ranks third in digs with 2.97 per set, and Stephens ranks third in blocks with one per set.

The Seawolves hope to use Tuesday's match to rebound from Saturday's loss to a Central Washington team that beat them at their own game and on their own court.

The Wildcats outblocked UAA in front of a crowd of 1,144 at the Alaska Airlines Center, putting a lid on what has been one of the Seawolves' strongest assets this season.

UAA entered the match as the second-best blocking team in Division II, but was outblocked 14-7 in the 25-21, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 15-9 setback.

Central Washington (8-1 overall, 2-0 GNAC) had to fend off the Seawolves after winning the first two sets.

"We got off to a slow start and that hurt us," UAA coach Chris Green said in a release from the school. "We were just too inefficient offensively against a team of that caliber, and they were able to take advantage of our mistakes, to their credit."

The Seawolves got 15 kills from Vanessa Boyer, 12 from Stephens and 11 from Tara Melton. Vreeland supplied 29 digs and Noga had 25.