FAIRBANKS — The Phil Shoemaker era of Alaska Nanooks volleyball came to an end Saturday evening in Nampa, Idaho where the Nanooks dropped a four-set match to the Northwest Nazarene Crusaders.
The 13-year veteran coach was on the sidelines with the Nanooks for the final time and watched his team fall 25-19, 24-26, 25-18,
25-18 in a Great Northwest Athletic Converence.
Shoemaker announced last winter he was retiring at the end of the season and plans to move somewhere in the Midwest in early December so he and his wife, Diane, can be closer to their mothers, who are in their mid-80s.
“Than was not the game plan,” Shoemaker said when asked about the final outcome of his last match with the Nanooks.
“The kids really battled hard tonight, but we made too many errors, some because we were trying to be too aggressive,” Shoemaker said. “We battled and battled, but just came up short.”
After splitting the first two sets, Northwest Nazarene put the hammer down in the final two sets.
“Northwest Nazarene is a really athletic team and we didn’t match up as well as we would have liked,” Shoemaker said. “We tried to switch our rotations around but we just couldn’t quite seem to get things to work out right.”
Sam Harthun capped a sensational freshman season with Alaska by delivering 16 kills with a .382 attack percentage. She also came up with seven digs.
“Sam had a great night for us, but other than that we weren’t too effective offensively,” Shoemaker said.
Senior libero Allison Oddy capped her collegiate career with 22 digs, while senior Reilly Stephens finished her time on the court with three kills, three digs and a pair of service aces.
Freshman setter Katlyn Mataya had 36 assists.
The Nanooks didn’t help themselves any by committing service errors.
“We missed too many serves, again mostly because we were trying to be too aggressive,” Shoemaker said.
Becky Flores led Northwest Nazarene with 13 kills, while Elayna Rice had nine and Carly Dranginis knocked down eight. Linnea Phillips had 16 digs for the Crusaders, Taylor registered three aces and Michelle Terpstra had 34 assists.
The Nanooks finished the season with a 6-18 overall record and a 4-14 mark in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Shoemaker finished his career at Alaska with a 132-182 record.
Northwest Nazarene wrapped up its season with a 15-14 overall record and an 8-10 mark in the GNAC.