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Falcons Take Two in a Row and Snap Two Win Streaks
Settle Pacific took a four-set win over Northwest Nazarene and a five-set victory against Central Washington to sweep its road trip.
Settle Pacific took a four-set win over Northwest Nazarene and a five-set victory against Central Washington to sweep its road trip.

Monday, September 26, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – Seattle Pacific did what no other team has been able to do since August 26 when it hit the road and beat Northwest Nazarene in four sets on Thursday.

 The victory ended an eight-match win streak for the Nighthawks and wouldn’t be the last streak the Falcons ended on their road trip. On Saturday, SPU made the trip to Ellensburg and defeated Central Washington in five sets, stopping the Wildcats’ GNAC unbeaten streak at three. The pair of wins against tough conference competition earned the Falcons selection as the GNAC Team of the Week.

Head coach Jason Rhine was happy to end the road trip on a winning note before returning home. “Both are tough places to play,” Rhine said. “Both were loud, both were tough environments. We’re glad to come away with two wins, and now we’re excited to be back home for the next couple weeks.”

On Saturday, Seattle Pacific dropped the first set 25-20 before roaring back to dominate the second 25-14. The Falcons jumped out to a lead early in the second set, going on a 5-1 run to open the frame and a 7-2 run to close it out. In the third set, Seattle Pacific was forced to reclaim the lead twice, putting together a 6-1 run to close out the set 25-19. The fourth and final set was a much closer affair, with both teams trading long runs to open the frame before settling into a back-and-forth scoring rhythm until the final stretch where SPU went on a 9-3 run to close out the set 25-23 and take the match.

Ashely Antoniak led the way for the Falcons offensively, averaging with 15 kills. Setter Emily Tulino was a major factor for SPU both offensively and defensively, putting up 26 assists and 17 digs in the four-set win. In defeating the Nighthawks, the Falcons held the second-ranked team in the conference in hitting percentage to just .171.

Seattle Pacific faced Central Washington on Saturday. The Falcons lost the first set 25-20, before bouncing back to a 25-17 win in the second set. Seattle Pacific did much of its damage in the heart of the second set when it went on a 10-2 run.

In a third set where both teams strung together strong periods of play, SPU ultimately came out on top 25-21, once again shutting down the Central Washington offense as it neared the 20-point mark. The Wildcats forced a fifth set as they took the fourth 25-17. In the final set, the score was tied six times with two lead changes in the early stages until Seattle Pacific rounded out the five-set victory with a 15-11 final frame.

Junior opposite Maddie Pruden was the offensive leader for SPU, finishing with 13 kills, three blocks and a .346 hitting percentage. Tulino was a force again for the Falcons, notching 24 assists, 10 blocks and three aces.

Rhine was pleased with the way the team played the final set at Central Washington.

“I just told (our players), if you would have told us before we got here that we would play a set five at their place – new gym, good team – if we get a chance to play to 15 on the road to win it, then we should be excited to be here,” he said. “And we played well in that set five.”

Seattle Pacific will return home for a three-match homestand, beginning on Thursday facing Western Oregon and Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

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