Weekend Sweep Earns UAA Volleyball Team Of The Week
Alaska Anchorage volleyball took home the inaugural Team of the Week honors for the 2018-19 season.
Alaska Anchorage volleyball took home the inaugural Team of the Week honors for the 2018-19 season.

Monday, August 27, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – As far as season openers go, Alaska Anchorage volleyball couldn't have asked for a better start to the 2018 campaign. 

Wins over Western New Mexico, Barton and Michigan Tech in the UAA Invitational allowed the Seawolves to jump out to a 3-0 start to the season, earning them this week's GNAC Team of the Week award in the process. 

On Thursday, head coach Chris Green's club got off on the right foot with a three-set sweep of the visiting Mustangs. They followed that up with a four-set win against Barton, then capped the weekend with a victory over the Huskies. The final match went to five sets, with the Seawolves ultimately prevailing after Michigan Tech rallied from a 2-0 deficit.

Alaska Anchorage was led by outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson, who was named as the GNAC co-Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. Johnson was named the most outstanding player of the tournament after posting a pair of double-doubles over the weekend.

"Our setters did a good job in spreading the offense when we were in system," said Green. "We saw some gritty long-rally wins during the weekend, especially against a very good Michigan Tech team." 

Leading the Seawolves' defensive efforts was sophomore Vera Pluharova, who currently leads the conference with 22 blocks. She has also posted 14 kills so far this season and was named the GNAC's Volleyball Defensive Player of the Week.

"We put up a big block against some big swinging teams," Green said. "Although we didn't stop teams completely, our block forced teams to make hitting errors, which gave us some easy points. Offensively, if we can become more consistent and efficient, we will be a very strong team down the road."

With both the Bulldogs and Huskies picked to finish in the top two of their respective conferences, the early-season victories should give UAA plenty of confidence moving forward. Barton was picked by the Conference Carolinas coaches to win their league, while Michigan Tech is projected to finish second in the GLIAC’s North Division. 

Alaska Anchorage currently leads the GNAC in opponent hitting percentage (.110) and blocks. Its 42 blocks through three matches is 10 clear of the next closest team in the league (Western Washington, 32). 

The Seawolves will look to build on this momentum as they enter the second week of competition, which features four contests against some of the best teams in the country at the D2 West Region Volleyball Showcase. They will return to the court on Friday, taking on Cal State San Marcos and Concordia-Irvine in a pair of afternoon matches.