Oct. 19, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Despite getting 19 kills and eight blocks from middle blocker Kayla Erickson (Jr., Gig Harbor/Peninsula), the nationally ranked Western Washington University volleyball team saw its seven-match winning streak snapped Saturday as the Vikings fell to University of Alaska Anchorage, 23-2526-24, 25-23, 19-25, 15-12, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference match before a crowd of 920 at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.
The Vikings, ranked No.7 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, fell to 14-2 overall and 7-1 in the GNAC. WWU had not lost a set in its first seven GNAC matches.
UAA improved to 15-6 overall and stayed alone atop the GNAC at 9-0. Outside hitter Katelynn Zanders had a match-high 22 kills for the Seawolves, matching the best by a GNAC player this season.
Zanders had four kills in the decisive fifth set, including back-to-back kills that gave the Seawolves a 13-9 advantage. The Vikings eventually fought off two match points to narrow the margin to 14-12, but UAA's Jodi Huddleston finished off the match with a quick attack in the middle.
The Vikings had started quickly, jumping to a 6-1 lead in the opening frame and leading by as much as nine before surviving a late Seawolves comeback to win 25-23.
The second set was tied 18 times before UAA scored four of the last five points to win 26-24. In the third, Siobhan Johansen served three aces in a four-point span to help the Seawolves take a 16-8 lead in route to an eventual 25-23 triumph.
The Vikings fell behind 4-1 in the fourth set, but used a run of five straight points to take the lead for good and led by as much as nine in winning 25-19.
Right-side hitter Jennica McPherson (So., Seattle/Kennedy) had 15 kills for WWU, and outside hitter Kelsey Moore (Jr., Bellevue/Newport) added 10. Libero Samantha Hutchinson (Jr., University Place/Curtis) contributed a match-high 39 digs.
The loss snapped a 17-match home winning streak for the Vikings, who last lost at home in 2011, to UAA. The Seawolves have won six of the last nine series meetings.
WWU is 117-13 at Carver Gym since installing a SportCourt surface in 2000. The match was billed as Dig Pink Night as part of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Rally.
The Vikings host Seattle Pacific on Thursday, Oct.24 (7 p.m.) in a GNAC contest.
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