Three players recorded double-figure kill performances as Alaska notched its first Great Northwest Athletic Conference win of the season, 3-1, against Simon Fraser on Saturday night at the Patty Center.
The Nanooks ended a 10-match losing skid and improved to 3-10 on the year and 1-6 in GNAC play after taking the match by scores of 25-20, 25-22, 22-25 and 25-17. The Clan, who lost for the 12th time in a row, fell to 2-12 overall and 0-8 in league action.
Freshman middle blocker Megan Morrison finished with a career-best 15 terminations after hitting a solid .353 (15-3-34) to go with her seven blocks (one solo). Sophomore middle blocker Britt Glaeser produced 10 kills (career-high) and three blocks while hitting a match-high .389 (10-3-18) and senior outside hitter Reilly Stevens contributed 14 kills, a team-best 15 digs and six assisted blocks. Freshman setter Katlyn Mataya also turned in a great night with a career-best 49 assists and 10 digs while freshman outside hitter Sam Harthun added nine kills, 11 digs and two aces.
As a team, the Nanooks hit .181 (58-29-160) while holding the Clan to a .104 (39-25-135) hitting clip. Despite committing four more attack errors, Alaska outscored SFU 7-4 on service aces and held advantages in assists (57-38) and digs (61-57). Both squads also turned in 11 blocks apiece.
The Clan were led by Jessic Young, who tallied 13 kills and four blocks (one solo) while Danielle Curtis and Katie Forsyth each contributed nine terminations each, respectively. Tamara Nipp led the team with 20 assists, while Alanna Chan had a match-high 23 digs.
Both teams kept the score close early on in the first set, but trailing 8-7, Alaska took advantage of a couple SFU errors and went on a 4-1 run to grab the 12-9 advantage. The ‘Nooks led 13-12, but the visitors answered with three in a row to snag a two-point lead. Out of a timeout, Alaska surged ahead with five straight points to hold a 18-15 lead and used that momentum to take set one 25-20.
The Nanooks trailed by as many as three early at 10-7, but eventually erased the deficit 13-13. Teams battled back and forth, but with the set knotted up at 20 apiece, three straight attack errors by the Clan allowed Alaska to be within two points of the set win. Morrison put the Nanooks on set point with a kill to go up 24-20, but SFU kept fighting and Young produced two kills to close the gap at 24-22. On the ensuing point, Morrison closed the set with a big kill to give the Nanooks a 2-0 lead.
SFU stormed out into the third set with an early 6-1 lead but five in a row by the hosts tied it at 6-6. Five errors allowed the Clan to take back the lead as they went on a 7-1 run to lead 13-7. Trailing 17-11, three in a row closed Alaska’s gap to 17-14. The deficit got down to a single point at 19-18, but the next two went Simon Fraser’s way to give it a 21-18 advantage. Down 22-19, a Morrison kill and Kylie Dickerson service ace got the ‘Nooks to within 22-21. The Clan, leading 23-22 closed the frame with an Alaska error and Forsyth kill to force a fourth set.
Set four went all Alaska’s way, however, as it opened on a 7-2 run. The Clan quickly erased the Nanook lead after capturing nine of the next 13 points to tie it at 11. Morrison’s kill on the next point sparked a 6-0 run to allow Alaska to regain control at 17-11. The Clan got no closer than four points on three separate occasions as the Nanooks went on to win the fourth 25-17 to win for the first time since Sept. 1.
The Nanooks hit the road next weekend as they face Montana State-Billings (7-8, 4-3 GNAC) Thursday at 5 p.m. (AKDT) and Seattle Pacific (7-9, 4-3 GNAC) Saturday at 2 p.m. (AKDT).