Big serves and big finishes carried the UAF volleyball team past the Seawolves and delighted a big Patty Center crowd that witnessed a rare feat Tuesday night in Fairbanks.
With their four-set win, the Nanooks remained undefeated in the young Great Northwest Athletic Conference season while ending UAA’s four-match winning streak.
And, they did something they hadn’t done since 2008 — they took consecutive matches from UAA, one of the West Region’s most dominant teams under 12th-year coach Chris Green. Coupled with a three-set sweep in Fairbanks in October, the Nanooks took back-to-back matches from UAA for the first time since they beat their rivals five straight times from 2006-08.
The Nanooks (6-5 overall, 3-0 GNAC) used 13 kills from AveRee Reynolds and stellar serving from Cate Whiting and Lahra Weber to take a 21-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-22 victory in front of a crowd of 461.
The Seawolves (7-4, 2-1) outblocked the Nanooks 10-4 and boasted the better attack percentage, .243 to .212. But UAF had more kills (50-41), more digs (48-36) and more aces (12-6).
After dropping the first set, UAF came on strong at the end of each of the next three.
The Nanooks ended the second set with an 8-2 run that included the set’s final five points, three of them coming on Weber aces.
They trailed the third set 18-17 when the game was halted for 10 minutes because of blood on the court and when play resumed, they grabbed control with four straight points, two on Whiting aces.
UAA led early in the fourth set but Fairbanks took the lead for good with a 5-1 run that made it 19-17. The Seawolves came no closer than two points the rest of the way.
The outcome spoiled a 17-kill night from UAA sophomore Eve Stephens, who on Monday was named the GNAC player of the week for her role in a pair of conference victories last week.
Kayla McGlathery added three blocks and 10 kills on .572 hitting, Ellen Floyd had 34 assists and eight digs and Talia Leauanae had 10 digs for the Seawolves, who hurt themselves at the service line with 15 errors.
The match was seventh straight road match for the UAA, which returns home for a Saturday night match against Montana State-Billings.