The Alaska Nanook volleyball team snapped a five-match losing streak by defeating the Central Washington Wildcats 3-2 Saturday night at the Patty Center. The Nanooks clawed back from a 9-6 deficit in the fifth set to capture their first win in a month and improve their record to 9-12 overall and 3-7 in the GNAC.
The Nanooks fell behind early in the first set 5-0 but responded with a 5-point run of their own to tie the set at five all. The Nanooks out hit the Wildcats .235-.143 but could not close out the set as Central Washington went on a 4-1 run after the score was deadlocked at 21.
Alaska continued their strong play in the second set as they raced out to a 17-11 lead and never looked back. The Nanooks used six kills by Megan Thigpen and seven digs from Jennifer Holland to win the set 25-18, and tie the match heading into the intermission. They out hit the Wildcats .250-.047 in the tying set.
Not to be outdone, the Wildcats responded and took set three by the score of 25-19. The Nanooks committed ten hitting errors in the set as the Wildcats regained the lead 2-1.
The fourth set looked to be a fight to the finish, until Alaska fell behind mid-way through the third set 17-14; however, the fight was note done as the Blue and Gold ran off eight of the next nine points to win the set 25-18 and force the deciding fifth set. Heather Lyons led the way offensively for the Nanooks with six kills and only one of the Nanooks five errors. Erica Gage also had a very strong set as she contributed three blocks and two kills.
With the Wildcats holding a 9-6 advantage in the final frame the Nanooks reeled off four straight points capped off by a double-block from Megan Thigpen and Heather Lyons, to take their first lead of the set. Central Washington regained the lead late at 14-12 before the Nanooks would make their final stand. With the score tied at 14 back-to-back blocks by Thigpen and Jessica Hill clinched the Nanooks victory 16-14.
Lyons led the Nanooks with a double-double (17 kills and 15 digs) and added five block assists teams 13 blocks. Thigpen (16) and Melissa Refuerzo (12) also registered double-figure kills, helping the Nanooks out hit the Wildcats .203-.094.
Alexa Sherman posted a double-double with match-highs in assists (53) and digs (20). Jennifer Holland had 18 digs in the backcourt, while Thigpen chipped in 14. Four different Nanooks had five or more blocks led by junior Erica Gage with a match-high 8. Thigpen, Hill and Lyons each had five blocks in the win.
Central Washington was led by Kady Try who posted 18 kills and 12 digs, while Meg Ryan and Erin Norris had 14 and 10 kills, respectively. Brandie Vea added 18 digs and Carlee Marble had 42 assists in the loss.
Great win for the ladies. They have been on the verge and just came up short in the recent past and it was good for them to go out and close a game.