Seawolves Can't Solve Coyote Conundrum In West Regional
Hannah Bembroke came off the bench to finish with 10 kills in the four-set loss. She was one of two UAA players with double digits in kills. Photo by Felicia Carrasco.
Hannah Bembroke came off the bench to finish with 10 kills in the four-set loss. She was one of two UAA players with double digits in kills. Photo by Felicia Carrasco.

Friday, December 6, 2019

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – No. 4 seed Alaska Anchorage rebounded from a first-set loss to take the second from No. 1 ranked Cal State San Bernardino, but the Coyotes held strong on their home floor for the four-set victory over the Seawolves, 25-11, 23-25, 25-20, 25-14, in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II West Regional Championships at The Den.

The Coyotes took decisive control in the first and fourth sets and finished with a .258 hitting percentage in the contest. The Seawolves proved valiant in the comeback effort, taking the second set and fall by five points in a close third set.

Sophomore right-side hitter Eve Stephens led the Seawolves with a double-double of 14 kills and 11 digs to go with four blocks. Freshman outside hitter Hannah Pembroke came off the bench for 10 kills while junior middle blocker Vera Pluharova added eight blocks. Alaska Anchorage hit .119 for the match, topped by a .328 hitting percentage in the second set.

Alexis Cardoza led Cal State San Bernardino with a double-double of 15 kills and 10 digs. Stephanie Doak added 12 kills while Jalyn Hayes finished with 11 kills, seven digs and six blocks.

Alaska Anchorage ends its season with a 23-7 overall record. Cal State San Bernardino (29-0) will play in Saturday’s regional final against No. 6 Azusa Pacific, which beat No. 2 Western Washington in four sets earlier on Friday.

After the teams traded points to open the first set, Cal State San Bernardino wasted little time surging with an eight-point run. Marlee Nunley fueled it with a pair of service aces while Murphy came up with a kill and a block to open the commanding 12-3 lead. The Seawolves cut the deficit to 14-7 on a CSUSB setting error, but the Coyotes allowed UAA just four points the rest of the way the commanding 25-11 win. The home team hit .632 in the opening set compared to the visitor’s -.115.

Alaska Anchorage took the early second-set lead, going up 4-1 on a block by Stephens and Pluharova, but the Coyotes held strong and managed to take the 13-12 lead on Asia Clarke’s service ace. Things stayed close until sophomore libero Talia Leauanae’s ace made it a 24-22 set and Stephens closed it out with the kill for the 25-23 win. Stephens had six kills in the frame, all in the late points.

The third set started close with neither team leading by more than two points until a three-point run allowed San Bernardino to breakaway from a 15-15 tie for the 18-15 lead on a pair of UAA attack errors. The Seawolves reduced the deficit to 18-17 on junior middle blocker Kayla McGlathery’s kill but came no close as the Coyotes won seven of the final 10 rallies for the 25-20 win.

The fourth set was another one of CSUSB runs. After opening with the 3-0 lead, Cardoza fueled another early three-point run that put the Coyotes up 8-2. Alaska Anchorage errors led another four-point run that made it a 14-5 lead. The Seawolves never recovered, coming no closer than seven points the rest of the way.