The Seattle Pacific University volleyball team played the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets on their senior night.
“It was really special to me, it was something that I’ve looked forward to all four years … and every time, it’s really emotional.” senior outside hitter Jaeden Hooker said.
The Falcons played the Yellowjackets earlier in the season at Alterowitz Gymnasium in Montana. In that game, they won three sets to one. However, this time the Falcons would fall to Montana State Billings, as the Yellowjackets took the victory three sets to one.
During the game, the Yellowjackets had control of the pace through most of the sets. Whenever the Falcons got a few points on the board, the Yellowjackets would answer right back with a run of their own.
The game went back and forth, but the Yellowjackets were able to close out each set.
Senior outside hitter Gabby Oddo had a season high of 22 kills along with 12 digs in the loss. Junior outside hitter Maddie Batiste also added 14 kills of her own.
To start the game, the Falcons jumped off to a 7-4 lead that quickly diminished when Billings came back with a 9-2 run of their own. The first set for both teams went back and forth making runs of their own. Eventually, at the end of the set, the score ended 25-22.
In the second set, Billing’s started off with a 5-0 lead that turned into a 13-10 deficit. With the Yellowjackets being down, they pushed back turning the 13-10 lead into a 15-13 lead quickly. Near the end of the set, it was tied 23-23 with the Yellowjackets having momentum.
Then, Sophomore outside hitter Skylar Reed of Billings hit back to back kills to end the set.
To start the third set, SPU came out and put up a quick five points to start. During the set, the Falcons were leading, but the Yellowjackets were not too far behind. Near the end, the Yellowjackets had regained the lead by one: 21-20.
SPU then gained back the momentum by scoring five straight points in a row.
During the fourth set, the Yellowjackets got off to a 6-1 lead. The Falcons tried to climb back into the game, but they never got any more momentum to compete with the Yellowjackets. The Yellowjackets finished off the game, with a 25-19 set.
Even with the loss, Hooker appreciated a night to celebrate all she and her fellow seniors have been through together.
“We’ve been through all four years together, every workout, every practice, every game,” Hooker said.
This season, SPU has five seniors on the volleyball team. All of them have had great accomplishments in their careers.
Setter Taylor Alicuban, who played two years at Highline Community College before transferring to SPU, has recorded more than 700 assists and is approaching 200 digs in her career. Alicuban missed all the 2017 season due to injury.
Outside hitter and defensive specialist Mallie Donohoe leads the team with more than 315 digs this season. She has set career highs multiple times.
Recently, on Oct. 26, she led a comeback having 29 digs in a victory that went to 5 sets against Central Washington University. In her career, she has over 900 digs.
Hooker has topped more than 100 kills for the second straight season. She is close to getting 300 kills for her career. Hooker has recently also surpassed 300 career points.
Defensive specialist Katie Mansfield has played more sets this year than any other year of her career. This year she has 73 digs which is twice as much as her previous single season high. This season, she was awarded the John Glancy Award for her on and off the court contributions.
Oddo made history last week by becoming only the third player in SPU history to have over 1,000 kills, 1,000 pointsmand 1,000 digs in her career.
Right now, she is in second place on the all-time kills list and in third place on the all-time points list for the program.
The team will play its final two games against University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Anchorage.
Even though both teams beat the Falcons last time out, Hooker thinks that now that the Falcons have hit their stride, these games could have a very different result than the last time the teams played.