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UAA Athletics

Another big night from freshman Stephens powers UAA past NAIA volleyball powerhouse

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: September 13
  • Published September 13

On the schedule it may have looked like an easy win for the Seawolves — a match against an NAIA volleyball team on the night before a conference match in Billings, Montana.

But Rocky Mountain College is no cupcake, and UAA needed to put in a full night's work Thursday to escape with a victory.

Powered by another 21-kill night from freshman Eve Stephens of Palmer, the Seawolves fended off NAIA powerhouse Rocky Mountain in five sets 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-27, 15-10.

UAA moved to 9-2 overall with the win, which ended Rocky Mountain's 10-match winning streak. The Bears, the sixth-ranked NAIA team in the nation, slipped to 11-2.

"I was pleased with the way our players responded to the adjustments we made after the first set," UAA head coach Chris Green said in a release from UAA. "We looked good at times when we found our offensive rhythm, but we need to be more consistent from beginning to end.

"Rocky is an excellent team and this win will continue to help us build confidence for some big upcoming league tests."

Stephens, a middle blocker coming off a 21-kill night in a Tuesday home win over UAF,  matched that effort two nights later. The Colony High grad was particularly productive in the fifth set, delivering seven kills.

Three other Seawolves also posted double-digit kills — Vanessa Boyer (15),  Chrisalyn Johnson (12) and Tara Melton (12). Boyer accounted for five of UAA's 12 aces, Johnson supplied 13 digs and four blocks, three of them solo efforts, and Melton added five block assists.

Ellen Floyd had a solid night with 30 assists, 18 digs and four aces, and Anjoilyn Vreeland and Taylor Noga combined for 45 kills, with Vreeland getting a team-high 25.

The Seawolves stay in Billings for a Friday match against Great Northwest Athletic Conference foe Montana State-Billings.

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