UPDATE: UC San Diego beat UAA in four sets in the tournament’s final match Saturday night, 18-25, 25-16, 2519, 25-20. The Seawolves finished the weekend with a 2-2 record. Eve Stephens had a match-high 16 kills on 49 attack attempts and Vanessa Hayes had 12 on 41 attempts to lead UAA.
Eve Stephens and Vanessa Hayes might need someone to carry their books Monday at school after all the work their arms got over the weekend.
The pair of outside hitters shouldered the offensive load for the UAA volleyball team in the first three matches of the season at the Alaska Airlines Center.
Stephens, a sophomore from Palmer, and Hayes, a senior from Salem, Oregon, combined for 88 kills and 240 attacks to lead UAA at the five-team, three-day, round-robin Seawolf Invitational.
The Seawolves were 2-1 heading into their final tournament match Saturday night.
UAA opened with a five-set loss Thursday night to Regis University of Denver, which won the tournament by going undefeated in four matches. Stephens had a match-high 19 kills on 61 attacks and Hayes followed with 17 on 56, but the pair also combined for 22 hitting errors that match.
They cleaned things Friday to lead the Seawolves to two victories in a day-night doubleheader.
In a three-set, 55-minute gem over Concord University of West Virginia, Stephens had 11 kills and two errors on 18 attacks for a .500 attack percentage, and Hayes had 11 kills and one error on 17 attacks for a .588 percentage.
A couple of hours later in a four-set win over Biola University of Los Angeles, the Seawolves triumphed in four sets behind double-doubles from Stephens and Hayes. Stephens racked up 16 kills and 11 digs and Hayes had 14 kills and 10 digs, and both made 44 attack attempts.
Through those three matches, the 6-foot-1 Stephens and 5-11 Hayes accounted for 57 percent of UAA’s kills (88 of 155) and 59 percent of its attacks (240 of 407). Sophomore setter Ellen Floyd ran the show by handing out 123 assists in the three matches.
While Stephens and Hayes were blasting the ball, junior middle blockers Vera Pluharova and Kayla McGlathery were rejecting it, with help from Stephens.
The trio teamed up for 26 block assists, and Glathery turned in two solo efforts and Pluharova and Stephens each had one. In Saturday’s win over Biola, McGlathery had one solo block and seven block assists, Pluharova had one solo block and six block assists, and Stephens had seven block assists.
UAA outblocked the Eagles 15-4 to notch a key victory over a fellow NCAA Division II West Region school. The win is important because West Region team rankings determine who advances to the playoffs at the end of the regular season.
The Seawolves will play another West Region opponent, UC San Diego, in Saturday’s tournament finale.
Though UAA’s veterans came up big in the first three matches — junior Anjoilyn Vreeland had a team-high 46 digs in three matches — a couple of freshman broke through with good performances.
Hannah Pembroke of Dimond High smashed seven kills Saturday and had five in the first two matches; Katie Hoefner of Wisconsin came up with 10 digs Saturday for a total of 18 in the first matches; and Maggie Schlueter of Texas served 10 aces in three matches, an effort matched by Hayes.
Next up for the Seawolves is a trip to San Bernardino, California, for the Division II West Region Showcase tournament.
Regis def. UAA, 3-2 (21-25, 26-24, 24-26, 31-29, 15-9)
Regis def. Biola, 3-1 (25-13, 23-25, 25-18, 25-21)
UAA def. Concord, 3-0 (25-8, 25-12, 25-12)
Regis def. UC San Diego, 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-27, 15-13)
UAA def. Biola, 4-1 (25-16, 24-26, 25-13, 25-20)
Regis def. Concord, 3-0 (25-19, 25-8, 25-12)
Biola def. UC San Diego, 3-2 (25-18, 17-25, 20-25, 26-24, 15-10)
Biola def. Concord, 3-1 (25-17, 20-25, 25-12, 25-14)
UC San Diego def. UAA, 3-1 (18-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-20)
Silvia Basso, Regis
Caitlyn Burroway, Regis
Ellen Floyd, UAA
Sami Hover, Biola
Eve Stephens, UAA
Sydney Tekstra, UC San Diego
Most Outstanding Player: Nikki Kennedy, Regis