Efficient hitting allows SPU to down volleyball in straight sets

Photo by Paul McCarthy

Jamie Foland

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Seattle Pacific hit .400 as a team and made only six errors en route to a 3-0 Great Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball victory against Alaska on Thursday night at the Patty Center.

The Falcons (12-12, 9-6 GNAC) won the match by scores of 25-18, 25-20, 25-18) to sweep the season series against the Nanooks (5-16, 3-12 GNAC).

Cailin Fellows produced a match-high 14 kills and hit .406 (14-1-32) while Madi Cavell had 11 terminations with a .409 attack percentage (11-2-22) and Nikki Lowell added 10 kills with a team-best .471 (10-2-17) hitting clip. Shelby Swanson dished out 39 assists as well as nine digs and Nikki Cheek made four block assists.

Alaska was paced by senior outside hitter Reilly Stevens (Riverside, Calif./Biology), who had 13 kills and eight digs. Freshman outside hitter Sam Harthun (Oregon City, Ore./Photojournalism) had 10 kills while freshman middle blocker Megan Morrison chipped in nine kills and two blocks (one solo).

SPU limited Alaska to .194 (39-18-108) shooting while hitting a powerful .400 (44-6-95). The Falcons made just six errors after hitting .680 in the first with no blunders while the ‘Nooks committed 18 attack errors.

Leading 10-9 in the first, SPU went on 7-2 run to grab a 17-11 advantage. Alaska was able to cut it back to four thrice with the last coming at 22-18 but a pair of Falcon kills and bad set by the hosts gave Seattle Pacific the first set, 25-18.

The second was much closer in the early going. Trailing 12-11, the Nanooks put together a mini 4-0 run to lead 15-12. SPU answered with six in a row, capped off by a pair of blocks and an Alaska error to take an 18-15 advantage. Leading 19-17, the Falcons got the next three to hold a 22-17 lead and went on to win 25-20.

In the third, the set was knotted at 10-10 but two kills by Cavell and another by Lowell put the visitors up 13-10. Alaska answered with three straight to square it again at 13 but that would be the last time the teams would be tied. Seattle Pacific  went back up 17-14 after scoring four of five and led by as many as seven late as it won the third 25-18 to clinch the match.

The Nanooks close out the home portion of the schedule Saturday at 3 p.m. when they host Montana State-Billings (10-13, 7-8 GNAC), which lost 3-0 at Anchorage on Thursday. It will be the final home match for seniors Allison Oddy (Chilliwack, B.C./Social Work) and Stevens. In addition, Saturday will also mark the final time head coach Phil Shoemaker will lead the ‘Nooks on home court as he will retire at the end of the season.