FAIRBANKS—The visiting Alaska Nanooks were competitive against Montana State University Billings, but that competitiveness didn’t translate into success in Thursday night’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball game.
The Nanooks were swept 25-21, 25-23, 25-19 by the Yellowjackets, falling to 1-7 GNAC and 3-11 overall after the first contest of this week’s road trip.
Alaska head coach Phil Shoemaker said the Nanooks were not offensively efficient in the Alterowitz Gymnasium.
“We had a lot of opportunities, we just didn’t get enough good swings,” Shoemaker said from Billings. “I felt like we had good effort, but we weren’t as disciplined as we would have liked to be. We were just not as sharp and efficient as we need to be.”
The Nanooks had a height disadvantage — Montana State Billings has six players at 6 feet or taller, compared to two for Alaska —, but the visitors finished with an 11-9 edge in total blocks.
“I felt good about that effort,” said Shoemaker, “but we didn’t get enough swings.”
The Nanooks generated a .064 hitting percentage to the Yellowjackets’ .151.
Freshman outside hitter Sam Harthun led Alaska with 11 kills and contributed six digs. Junior Keri Knight followed with eight kills, seven digs and a service ace, and senior Reilly Stevens had six kills to go with nine digs and an ace.
Freshman setter Katlyn Mataya led the Nanooks with 31 assists and chipped in seven digs. Senior libero Allison Oddy recorded 21 digs and sophomore middle blocker and Lathrop graduate Britt Glaeser tallied five total blocks.
The Yellowjackets (5-3, 8-8) were led by 31 assists from freshman setter Kyndal Williams and game-bests of 19 digs from junior defensive specialist Erin Compton and 12 kills from sophomore middle blocker Monica Grimsrud.
Alaska heads to Seattle Pacific for a conference game at 2 p.m. ADT Saturday. The Falcons were defeated Thursday in five sets by the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves (25-19, 25-21, 22-25, 23-25, *15-12).
The Alaska Nanooks swimming team debuts this season with its annual Blue-Gold Penathlon at noon Saturday in the Patty Center pool.
Sixteen swimmers will be split into teams of eight. Sophomore Danielle Lyons, of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, will be the captain of the Blue team and senior Sarah Meierotto of North Pole will captain the Gold.
The Nanooks will compete in six events, with five counting toward individual pentathlon scoring.
The pentathlon begins with the 200-yard medley relay that counts only toward team scoring. It will be followed by the 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 100 freestyle and 100 individual medley.
The Nanooks’ first regular-season competition is against California Baptist on Oct. 26-27 in the Patty Center.
The teams hit the water at 6 p.m. the first day and at noon the second day.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.