After waiting 469 days to play a match, the UAA volleyball team needed less than 24 hours to start a winning streak.
The Seawolves won three matches in Washington in their return to action after a long break caused by the pandemic. They took a doubleheader from Seattle Pacific on Saturday afternoon in Seattle and a four-set victory over Saint Martins on Friday night in Lacey.
“That was a huge relief to finally be able to get back out there,” UAA coach Chris Green said after the Friday match. “We looked a little rusty at times, but overall I was pleased.”
The match was UAA’s first since Dec. 6, 2019, when it lost a second-round West Region match to eventual national champion Cal State-San Bernardino. The entire 2020 season was canceled because of COVID-19.
This weekend marked the start of UAA’s short spring season, and so far, so good.
After Friday’s four-set win, the Seawolves swept Seattle Pacific in Saturday’s first match 25-18, 25-20, 25-19, before needing five sets to win the second match 25-17, 21-25, 25-14, 10-25, 16-14.
Eve Stephens, a junior All-American from Palmer, racked up a career-high 26 kills in the second match after supplying 14 in the first match and 13 against Saint Martins.
She was a workhorse in the final match, making 71 attack attempts and five errors for a .296 hitting percentage. In the first match, Stephens hit .520 with one error on 25 attempts.
Freshman Nicole Blue of Cerritos, California, made an instant impact with a combined 19 kills Saturday plus 16 on Friday.
Her biggest attack came on UAA’s second attempt at match point in Saturday’s finale. Blue took a set from Ellen Floyd — who had 43 assists for the match and 109 for the weekend — and blasted it for her 11th kill to end the match.
The Seawolves will take their 3-0 record into their only home matches of the season Friday and Saturday against UAF at the Seawolf Sports Complex. Friday’s match is at 7 p.m. and Saturday’s is at 1 p.m. No spectators will be allowed because of COVID-19 protocols.