Shoemaker to close out volleyball career with final road trip

Jamie Foland

After 13 years, Phil Shoemaker’s Alaska Nanooks career will come to a close this week as the volleyball team plays in its final two matches of the season on the road. Shoemaker, who is the winningest coach in program history, will retire at the conclusion of this week’s trip to the Lower 48.

The Nanooks (6-16, 4-12 GNAC) first take on the Central Washington on Thursday at 6 p.m. (AKDT) followed by a Saturday meeting against the Northwest Nazarene on Saturday at 5 p.m. (AKDT). Two months ago the Wildcats (19-7, 12-4 GNAC) and the Crusaders (13-14, 6-10 GNAC) both won in straight sets in Fairbanks.

Last week, Alaska went 1-1 in its last two home matches and following a 3-0 setback to Seattle Pacific, it celebrated Senior Day with a 3-1 victory against Montana State-Billings.

Freshman setter Katlyn Mataya (Mount Vernon, Wash./Psychology) ran the offense as she dished out 89 assists to go with seven kills, a .250 hitting percentage, 17 digs and two service aces.

Freshman outside hitter Sam Harthun (Oregon City, Ore./Photojournalism) had 30 kills, had a .269 hitting percentage, 17 digs and a pair of aces. Senior outside hitter Reilly Stevens (Riverside, Calif./Biology) wasn’t far back with 29 kills and 23 digs while freshman middle blocker Megan Morrison added 24 kills  with a team-best .283 hitting clip and three blocks.

In the GNAC rankings, Mataya moved up a spot to fourth and is the top-ranking freshman setter with 9.95 assists per set. Harthun also jumped one slot to fifth with 3.52 kills per set and sixth with 3.93 points per set while Oddy is sixth with 4.57 digs per set. Nationally, Mataya is 54th in assists, Harthun is 62nd and 75th in kills and points, respectively, and Oddy is 77th in digs.

Match #23: Alaska at Central Washington – Thursday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. (AKST)
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The Wildcats are coming off a pair of road victories with a 3-1 win at Saint Martin’s and a sweep at Western Oregon. Marcy Hjellum led the attack with 26 kills, 33 digs, four block assists and two service aces. Other key contributors included Rachel Hanses (20 kills), Emmy Dolan (19 kills, 4 block assists), Erin Smith (17 kills, .394 hitting, 8 total blocks) and Devin Larson (75 assists, 19 digs, 3 block assists.

Smith is second in the GNAC with a .359 hitting percentage and fourth with 0.98 blocks per set while Hjellum is third with 3.74 kills per set. Kaely Kight is third with 5.10 digs per set and Catie Fry is fifth in service aces (0.37) and sixth in assists (9.46 aps). Smith’s hitting percentage ranks 25th in the NCAA and Kight’s digs average is 32nd. Hjellum is 39th in kills while Smith is 84th in blocks.

Match #24: Alaska at Northwest Nazarene – Saturday, Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. (AKST)
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The Crusaders are fresh off a road split following a 3-0 loss at Western Oregon before downing Saint Martin’s 3-0. Becky Flores led the way with 20 kills (.326), four block assists and two aces. Other key contributors were Carly Dranginis (15 kills, .268 hitting) and Michelle Terpstra (12 kills, .278 hitting, 47 assists, 4 aces).

Linnea Phillips ranks fourth in the GNAC with 4.82 digs per set. Terpstra ranks seventh in the league with 8.96 assists per set and ninth with a .282 hitting percentage while Flores is 10th, hitting .281. Heather Allen is seventh with 0.92 blocks per frame while Taylor Roberts is eighth with 0.31 aces per set. Phillips is 51st in the country in digs while Terpstra is 98th in assists and Allen is 108th in blocks.