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UAA Athletics

UAA volleyball team goes from rags to riches in season’s first two matches

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: September 7
  • Published September 6

UAA's Hannah Pembroke spikes the ball during a volleyball game against the Concord Mountain Lions Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 at the Alaska Airlines Center. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

UPDATE: UAA won its second straight match by beating Biola University in four sets Friday night, 25-16, 24-26, 25-13, 25-20. Eve Stephens and Vanessa Hayes both delivered double-doubles, with Stephens racking up 16 kills and 11 digs and Hayes getting 14 kills and 10 digs.

ORIGINAL STORY: Two matches into the volleyball season, the Seawolves hope they’ve put the worst behind them — and that their best gets even better.

One night after making dozens of errors in a five-set loss to Regis University, UAA roared back with a three-set, 55-minute gem over Concord University that showcased precision hitting.

The Seawolves are 1-1 going into the second match of a Friday day-night doubleheader at the Alaska Airlines Center. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, they face Biola University.

The matches are part of the five-team, round-robin Seawolf Invitational. The tournament continues Saturday with four matches, including a 7:30 p.m. match between UAA and UC San Diego in the tournament finale.

UAA opened the season with a five-set thriller against Regis University of Denver. Three of the five sets went beyond 21 points, with the Rangers prevailing 21-25, 26-24, 24-26, 31-29, 15-9.

UAA’s effort was spoiled by 34 hitting errors and 17 service errors.

“Regis did an excellent job of forcing some mistakes by our hitters tonight, but that is still no excuse for committing so many errors, especially our 17 service errors,” UAA coach Chris Green said in a press release from the school. “We will try to use this as a learning opportunity as we get ready for two more tough matches tomorrow.”

The Seawolves responded well in their first match Saturday, dispatching Concord 25-8, 25-12, 25-12. They drastically reduced their mistakes to nine hitting errors and eight serving errors.

Their .444 attack percentage against Concord was the team’s best since 2000. It was fueled by their four primary hitters, who all hit .500 or better — Vanessa Hayes (11 kills, .588 percentage), Eve Stephens (11 kills, .500 percentage), Vera Pluharova (6 kills, .714 percentage) and Kayla McGlathery (6 kills, .625 percentage).

Ellen Floyd ran the offense with 31 assists, and Maggie Schlueter served six aces.

Nobody hit double figures for Concord, which had more hitting errors (18) than kills (13) and finished with a minus-.082 attack percentage.

UAA's Eve Stephens and Jalisa Ingram block a shot during a volleyball game against the Concord Mountain Lions Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 at the Alaska Airlines Center. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

“Our passing and serving was much better than last night, and I’m proud of the way we took control of the match and never let Concord back in it,” Green said. “We needed this win to get some momentum.”

In Friday’s loss, UAA’s top four hitters all notched double-digit kills — Stephens had 19, Hayes 17, McGlathery 12 and Pluharova 10. Stephens added 13 digs and six blocks (one solo), Pluharova had six block assists, Floyd had 51 assists, 10 digs and five aces, and Anjoilyn Vreeland furnished 27 digs.

Regis was led by Nikki Kennedy (16 kills, 4 solo blocks and 7 block assists) and Caitlin Burroway (22 digs, 8 kills).

The Seawolves had more kills than Regis, 68-54, but the Rangers had the better attack percentage, .227 to .173, outblocked the Seawolves 14-9, outdug them 83-71 and made 33 errors against UAA’s 51.

Seawolf Invitational

Thursday’s result

Regis def. UAA, 3-2 (21-25, 26-24, 24-26, 31-29, 15-9)

Friday’s results

Regis def. Biola, 3-1 (25-13, 23-25, 25-18, 25-21)

UAA 3, Concord (25-8, 25-12, 25-12)

Regis def. UC San Diego, 22-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-27, 15-13

UAA vs. Biola, late

Saturday’s matches

9 a.m. — Regis vs. Concord

11:30 a.m. — Biola vs. UC San Diego

5 p.m. — Concord vs. Biola

7:30 p.m. — UAA vs. UC San Diego

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