Volleyball travels to Simon Fraser, No. 17 Western Washington

Jamie Foland

The Alaska volleyball team hits the road for a pair of Great Northwest Athletic Conference matches when it takes on Simon Fraser Thursday at 6 p.m. (AKDT) and 17th-ranked Western Washington Saturday at 6 p.m. (AKDT).

Four weeks ago at home, the Nanooks (4-14, 2-10 GNAC) was swept by the league-leading Vikings (18-3, 11-2 GNAC) but rebounded two nights later to down the Clan (4-16, 1-12) 3-1 to notch their first conference victory.

Last Saturday, the ‘Nooks dropped a five-set heartbreaker, as rival Alaska Anchorage won 3-1 in front of 677 fans (most in four years) at the Patty Center. The Nanooks trailed 1-0 and 2-1 but won the second and fourth sets to force the deciding fifth frame. Alaska led UAA 13-12, but an Anchorage kill and error by the Nanooks opened the door for the Seawolves to win the fifth 15-13 to take the match.

The ‘Nooks were paced by Sam Harthun, who produced 15 kills, 12 digs and three blocks (two solo). Reilly Stevens and Keri Knight each turned in eight-kill nights while Stevens had 19 digs and two blocks and Knight served up a career-best four aces. Katlyn Mataya also had career-highs of seven kills and 15 digs to go with 39 assists.

In the GNAC rankings, Mataya fell one spot to fifth in assists with 9.68 per set. Harthun also dropped to seventh in points with 3.73 per set while remaining seventh in the kills department with 3.29 per frame. Oddy also stayed in seventh with 4.46 digs per set. Nationally, Mataya is 58th in assists and Oddy is 94th in digs while Harthun is 103rd and 113th, respectively, in kills and points.

Match #19: Alaska at Simon Fraser – Thursday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. (AKDT)
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The Clan was swept in both matches on the road at Saint Martin’s and Simon Fraser a week ago. Leading the SFU offense was Jessica Young, who tallied 19 kills, while three others accrued 12 kills. Alanna Chan led the backcourt with 31 digs while Danielle Curtis had 19 digs and a pair of aces.

Madeline Hait is fourth in the GNAC ranks with 0.97 blocks per set and Chan is ninth in digs (4.01 dps) while Victoria Senges is 10th in assists (5.44 aps). Hait’s blocking average is 87th best in the nation while Chan is 142nd in all of Division II in digs.

Match #20: Alaska at #17 Western Washington – Saturday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. (AKDT)
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The Vikings suffered a surprising 3-0 loss at Western Oregon before bouncing back with a 3-1 win at Saint Martin’s last week. Marlayna Geary powered the offense with 32 kills after hitting .258 and she also contributed 22 digs, five block assists and two aces. Kayla Erickson also aided the attack with 21 kills with a team-best .390 hitting percentage and 11 total blocks. Laurie Yearout dished out 77 assists, three aces and four block assists while Samantha Hutchinson led the backcourt with 50 digs.

Three players rank in the top-10 of the GNAC’s hitting list as Erickson is second (.361), Geary is seventh (.302) and Emily Boerger is eighth (.283). Geary also leads the league in kills (4.32 kps) while Erickson is eighth (3.24 kps) and Yearout is first in assists (12.12 aps). In the blocks department, Erickson is second (1.11 bps) while digs is dominated by Hutchinson, who is first (6.26 dps).

Yearout’s assist average is fourth in the nation and Erickson is sixth in digs while Geary is eighth in kills. WWU is in the top-50 of two other individual categories as well as four more in the top-150.