Seawolves Win In Five To Stick Fork In Tritons' Season
Junior middle blocker Kayla McGlathery finished with 10 kills and seven blocks as Alaska Anchorage earned a spot in the regional semifinals. Photo by Joshua Ocampo.
Junior middle blocker Kayla McGlathery finished with 10 kills and seven blocks as Alaska Anchorage earned a spot in the regional semifinals. Photo by Joshua Ocampo.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – As one would expect from a No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup, the match went down to the final point and then some.

After trading the first four sets, No. 4 seed Alaska Anchorage rallied from as much as four points down in the fifth set and forced extra points to knock off No. 5 seed UC San Diego, 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 21-25, 16-14, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA West Regional Volleyball Championship at The Den on the campus of Cal State San Bernardino.

The Seawolves (23-6) finished with a .264 hitting percentage in the match and 13 team blocks, blistering the net for a .348 percentage in the first set and a .393 percentage in the third. Sophomore opposite Eve Stephens led the way with 14 kills, seven digs and six blocks. Senior outside hitter Vanessa Hayes added 11 kills and three aces while junior outside hitter Kayla McGlathery finished with 10 digs and seven blocks.

The victory was Alaska Anchorage’s first in the West Regional since the 2016 regional final in Anchorage. With the win, the Seawolves earn the right to face either No. 1 seed Cal State San Bernardino or No. 8 seed Central Washington in the semifinals on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

Jessica Rieble and Trinity Castaneda led the Tritons (18-9) with 16 kills apiece, with Rieble picking up three of the team’s five blocks. Emily Hubbard added a double-double of 14 kills and 11 digs.

Neither team led by more than three points in the opening set, with the Seawolves taking a 10-7 lead on one of McGlathery’s four opening set kills and again at 13-10 on a Stephens’ kill. The Tritons came back to tie it at 15-15 on Emily Hubbard’s ace and eventually pulled ahead 23-20 on a UAA setting error. Reible picked up the final two kills for the 25-22 first-set UC San Diego victory.

The Tritons jumped out to the early second-set lead, but the Seawolves recovered to take a 6-4 lead on a block by McGlathery and sophomore setter Ellen Floyd. UC San Diego would go back ahead by as much as two points before UAA took the lead back when an attack error made it 12-11. The lead was as much as 18-14 before the Tritons came back to tie it as 20-20. The Seawolves won three of the final four rallies, two on Hayes’ kills, for the 25-23 win.

The third set was all Seawolves as they vaulted out to the 9-3 lead on sophomore libero Talia Leauanae’s service ace. The Tritons would cut their deficit to lead on two occasions but come no closer. A McGlathery block gave Alaska Anchorage the 18-13 lead and the five-point cushion held until late when the Seawolves scored the final three points for the 25-18 win and the match lead.

Alaska Anchorage opened the fourth looking to put the match away, bolting out to a 7-3 lead on Stephens’ ace. UC San Diego responded with a rally, tying the frame at 8-8 on Rieble’s kill, and went up 13-10 on another UAA setting error. The Seawolves took the lead back briefly when junior defensive specialist Anjoilyn Vreeland’s service ace made it 18-17, but UAA won just three more points as the Tritons forced a fifth set with the 25-21 win.

UC San Diego had the momentum to open the fifth set, going up 5-1 thanks to a trio of Castaneda kills. The Seawolves stayed with it, reducing the deficit to 7-4 on a service error, but was down 8-4 when the teams switched sides. The switch was the spark point for an eight-point run for the Seawolves, fed by two kills and two aces by Stephens, to go up 12-8.

The Tritons responded in kind with a four-point run to tie it at 12-12 on Emily Hubbard’s block. The teams traded points on the next four rallies before freshman outside hitter Hannah Pembroke’s kill made it 15-14 and an attack error gave the Seawolves the victory.