The University of Alaska Anchorage volleyball team was shocked in the opening round of the NCAA Division II tournament on Thursday, falling 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12) to Chaminade in Bellingham, Washington.
The Seawolves entered as the top seed in the Western Region and ranked No. 4 in the nation with a 27-2 mark but couldn’t get past the No. 8 seeded Silverswords.
“We played them earlier in the year, and they added a couple key pieces since then, and tonight they offensively at many times were unstoppable,” said UAA head coach Chris Green in a release from the school. “We fought hard, but didn’t quite get over the hump there in the fifth game. But they are a good team right now, so you have to give them credit. They were relentless.”
UAA’s Eve Stephens, who was named West Region Player of the Year, had 20 kills and teammate Ellen Floyd added 43 assists in the match.
After falling in the first set, UAA battled back to take the next two. The Seawolves appeared to be in control to take the match, leading 20-18 in the fourth. But Chaminade won seven of the next eight points to force a fifth set.
The season was still historic for the Seawolves. The team’s 27-3 record tied the 2015 edition for the second-best overall record in program history. The team also won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title and Floyd joined Stephens as First Team All-West Region.
“The coaching staff is very proud of what these guys have accomplished,” Green said in the release. “It takes a lot of hard work, and they surprised me to be honest. We played some tough, tough teams in the GNAC and to only have one loss (17-1) is a huge accomplishment. In the locker room we told them not to hang their heads. It’s not the way we wanted to end it, but I’m very proud of what we’ve done.”
Chaminade was led by 20 kills by Sasha Colombo.