FAIRBANKS—Volleyball teams, noted Alaska Nanooks head coach Phil Shoemaker, don’t register points with passing. However, it made the difference Thursday night in the Nanooks’ loss to Central Washington University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference match in Ellensburg, Wash.
The Nanooks were swept 25-13, 26-24, 25-17, as they’re winding up the regular season and Shoemaker is winding down his 13-season career with the NCAA Division II program.
“If you have a better pass, it allows you to get a better swing and that was the situation tonight — they had more swings and better swings,” Shoemaker said from Ellensburg.
“We played pretty hard and we certainly had our chances, but I don’t feel like we were fully dialed in to compete at a high level,” he added. “So we cracked more than we should have, and our ball control should have and could have been better, and that led to our downfall.”
Nanooks freshman middle blocker Megan Morrison matched the Wildcats’ Marcy Hjellum with a match-high 13 kills.
Junior outside hitter Keri Knight added eight kills, and freshman Sam Harthun contributed six kills and six digs. Freshman setter Katlyn Mataya distributed 25 assists, provided 10 digs and had the lone ace for Alaska (4-13 GNAC, 6-17 overall).
Senior libero Allison Oddy led the Nanooks with 14 digs, while redshirt freshman Kylie Dickerson had seven digs.
The Wildcats (13-4, 20-7) got 10 kills from Rachel Hanses and nine from Emmy Dolan. Devin Larson had 36 assists, and Hjellum and Kaely Kight paced Central Washington with respective digs of 16 and 12.
Alaska ends the season Saturday night against Northwest Nazarene in Nampa, Idaho. It will be the last match for Shoemaker, who is retiring after the season. He has 132-181 record with the Nanooks and also coached for 16 seasons at Division I Wichita State in Kansas.
Northwest Nazarene won Thursday in four sets against Alaska Anchorage (20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23). UAA freshman Julia Mackey, a former West Valley High School star, had a match-high 15 kills.
Nanooks trio honored
Knight, Oddy and Alaska senior outside hitter Reilly Stevens were among 40 volleyball players named Thursday to the GNAC All-Academic Team.
It was the second straight year Knight and Oddy were selected and the first honor for Stevens.
Knight holds a 3.86 cumulative grade-point average as a business administration major. Oddy, a social work major, has a 3.33 GPA, and Stevens holds a 3.34 GPA as a biology major.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at *459-7586.