A day after grabbing the No. 4 ranking in the West Region, the UAA volleyball team solidified its position as a playoff team Thursday by sweeping Western Oregon at the Alaska Airlines Center auxiliary gym.
Vanessa Hayes capped a 17-kill performance by scoring match point in the 25-15, 25-21, 25-17 victory. With the win, UAA moves to 17-6 overall and 12-3 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with five matches remaining in the regular season. The win keeps UAA in second place in the league standings, one game ahead of third-place Simon Fraser.
The Seawolves, who return to action Saturday at 2 p.m. against Concordia-Portland, are in position to earn an NCAA Division II playoff spot if they can stay on track. The top eight teams in the West Region rankings qualify for the playoffs.
Hayes, a senior outside hitter, came within one kill of matching her career-high set earlier this season against league-leading Western Washington. She hit with .417 percent efficiency and was the only UAA player to reach double figures in that category. Eve Stephens, the team’s kill leader, finished with seven, Jalisa Ingram had a career-high six and Hannah Pembroke five.
Ingram, who stepped up in the absence of injured middle blocker Kayla McGlathery, had played only seven sets this season before Thursday, and she came through big-time. She contributed to four blocks and hit an impressive .750 percent — six kills on eight attempts with no errors — to help UAA outhit the Wolves, .349 to .170.
Ellen Floyd supplied 30 assists, nine digs and three blocks assists for the Seawolves, who served 10 aces and out-dug Western Oregon 45-39. Talia Leauanae chipped in nine digs and was one of four Seawolves with two aces apiece.
Western Oregon (4-18 overall, 2-13 GNAC) was led by Lauren Smith’s 10 kills.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Hayes was one kill shy of her career-high and updated with additional player statistics.