Poised to earn a spot within the West Area playoffs just a little greater than every week in the past, the UAA volleyball group is a longshot to make the postseason after suffering a 3-set loss to Central Washington on Thursday.
The Wildcats beat UAA 25-23, 25-19, 25-22 to clinch second place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. The teams had been locked in a battle for second place for the last a number of weeks.
The loss in Ellensburg, Washington, was the second in three matches for the Seawolves, who’ve seen their playoff hopes all but vanish in the last two weeks.
They have been the sixth-ranked group in the initial West Region poll launched on Oct. 24, which put them in rivalry to make the eight-group area event.
They slipped to seventh in final week’s rankings despite profitable two matches, and then they stumbled towards Seattle Pacific in a home match on Nov. 1. Though they recovered to beat Saint Martin’s on Saturday, the Seawolves dropped to tenth place in this week’s ballot.
Even when UAA bounces again Saturday to beat Northwest Nazarene in its ultimate common-season match of the season, Thursday’s loss is a critical blow to UAA’s shot at a seventh straight postseason appearance.
The Seawolves (20-7 general, 13-6 GNAC) had four players with eight or more kills but could not hold tempo with the recent-hitting Wildcats (21-5, 15-four).
Makala Swart blasted 15 kills on .583 hitting to steer Central Washington to a .324 assault proportion. UAA, which acquired nine kills apiece from Tara Melton, Vanessa Boyer and Eve Stephens and eight from Chrisalyn Johnson, hit .212.
Johnson and Anjoilyn Vreeland led UAA with 14 digs apiece and Ellen Floyd served two aces and handed out 22 assists while sharing setting duties with Casey Davenport (20 assists). Vera Pluharova, a middle blocker who had a career-excessive eight kills in final week’s win over Saint Martin’s, was sick and missed the match.
The Seawolves play what could possibly be their ultimate match of the season Saturday afternoon at Northwest Nazarene.