Nanooks fall to Seawolves, crowd stays positive

Nikki Withington / Sun Star Reporter
Sept. 20, 2011

A hard-fought battle met its end when the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Seawolves overtook the UAF Nanooks women’s volleyball team Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Patty Center.

The Nanooks came out swinging with an early lead in the first set of the game. As the set progressed, they lost some footing and reached the end neck-and-neck. The Nanooks ultimately fell short, 25-27, and set the tone of play for the game.

UAA challenged UAF again in the second set, ending with a 25-21 defeat. The third set fell short, finishing out at 25-13.

Throughout the game the Nanooks scored a strong 32 kills, led by senior Simone Chavous and sophomore Keri Knight, both with seven kills, and followed closely by junior Casey Tidwell with six kills.

Despite the loss, the atmosphere in the Patty Center was energetic and positive. The stands rattled with cheers throughout the game, even when not spurred on by a “Point Nooks!”

Veteran student fans gathered in the far left corner of the Patty. T-shirts read “Beat UAA” while others sported body paint spelling out U-A-F. Painted fan Suzie Avant, a business administration junior, attends the games regularly out of love for the sport with no favorite player in mind, she said.

“I thought the crowd was great on Saturday,” Avant said.

One fan spent the duration of the game on the floor, helping lead the other fans in cheers of “U-A-F” simultaneously with each bump, set and spike.

Marena Gilbert, geology sophomore, is one of the newest fans of the athletics program. She has been in the Patty many times for yoga classes, but never for an athletic event.

“This was my first time going to any Nanook game. I was surprised at how big the crowd was,” Gilbert said. “The game was great to watch. I will definitely come to another.”

This loss shifts the Nanooks to a 0-11 record for the team and 0-3 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). UAA skimmed by with a 6-5 and 2-1 in conference. The winner of the game was determined by the best 3 out of 5 sets. The game was rally scored, so a team didn’t have to be serving to receive a point.

The next Nanooks volleyball home game will be against the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Patty Center.

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