It was close, but after a back-and-forth five set match, Seattle Pacific University’s women’s volleyball team fell just short of victory on Saturday, Oct. 6.
With stellar sportsmanship from both sides of the net, the Falcons took the first two sets in close scoring games. Ultimately though, the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves came back to win the last three sets sealing their win. The set scores were 20-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-12; SPU won the first two sets and AAU won the last three.
Alaska Anchorage has been slowly moving up in the ranks. Last week the Seawolves were in the No. 3 spot in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and, after last Saturday’s contest, they are tied for No. 2.
“It’s hard to win a third set, even when you’re up 2-0,” Falcons head coach Abbie Wright said. “I was very proud of the way our team started the match and came out throwing the ‘first punch,’ as we’ve been calling it.”
Despite the loss, the Falcons had some power players who stood out in this match.
Senior Hailey Gaines served up a career-high of 19 kills, leading the team’s kill count for the match. Gaines has been hammering out high kill counts for the last few weeks, but Saturday was her career best.
Not far behind were junior Gabby Oddo, who had a total of 14 kills; junior Jaden Hooker, who had 11 kills; and senior Shaun Crespi, who had 6 kills.
Overall, SPU’s hitting percentage for the match was a .241, and they went 57-17-166 in team kills, errors and total attempts.
“[University of Alaska Anchorage] is always a great team. I wasn’t surprised they got themselves back in the game, because they are just a well-coached and gritty team,” Wright said. “Our girls were playing great, so I knew it would be fun volleyball to watch, but also a mental and physical challenge.”
The Falcons came out swinging in the first match, taking the first point, but were met by the Seawolves quickly. Despite that, the Falcons pulled through and won the first set by five points.
In the second set, the Falcons were quick once again to keep a close game, making sure the Seawolves never got too far ahead of them. SPU took the second set by three points.
In the third, fourth and fifth sets, the Falcons and the Seawolves went toe to toe for all three sets, but in the end, the Seawolves just barely slipped by, winning all three by just a couple of points each.
“Overall, they just made better plays in more critical moments, but I don’t want that to take away from the effort and heart our team showed. I know we grew and got better on Saturday, and we will learn from the moments we fell short,” Wright said.
The Falcons will be back in action this week on Thursday, Oct. 11 at Concordia-Portland University, and will be on the road for the next four matches.
Statistically, Concordia will be an easier matchup than the Alaska Anchorage was. Concordia and SPU have the same 5-5 conference record, although Concordia’s overall record bests SPU’s by one win, 8-9 as compared to the Falcons’ 7-10.