Nanooks Win Thriller in the Patty
By Aaron Walling, Sun Star Reporter
By far one of the best performances by the Nanooks this season was their Oct. 4 game where they won the series 3-1 over the Saint Martin’s Saints.
The game had an awesome atmosphere as the Nanooks hooked onto the power spikes of #11 outside hitter Sam Harthun, #9 outside hitter Brooke Mattice, and #7 middle blocker Riley Podowicz as they maintained the top side of the net for most of the match.
They weren’t uncontested, however, as they had to face the two towering Saints’ standing over 6’ 3,” #10 middle blocker Kyra Davidson and #14 middle blocker Maddie Knecht who had a healthy dose of blocks. Their leader in many rallies was #13 outside hitter Jessica Riddle. Riddle kept pounding the Nanooks with some powerful serves and held off attacks by Harthun. However, the composure of the Nanooks ultimately allowed them to utilize some great team work during the match.
“I felt like this was a tougher matchup for us. This was a great challenge for the team,” Nanooks coach Mallory Larranaga said in relation to being on a two win streak. Indeed it was an intense match, as this looked like a title fight. This game moved the Nanooks to 2-14 on the season, and the Nanooks now have some momentum going into their next match against the tough UAA Seawolves, 13-3, team in Anchorage.
The first set saw broken plays killing the Saints as they couldn’t seem to connect on their set moves. Luckily for the Saints, Riddle brought them back to take a 10-9 lead in the set with her amazing saves off the power spikes from Mattice and Harthun. This set was a close game throughout, but in the end, Harthun caught on fire to lead the Nanooks to a 25-20 win.
The second set was as close as the first one as Riddle continued her strong play, as well as setting up nice plays for her teammates. Maddie Davis, #8 outside hitter for the Nanooks tried to rally the troops behind some nice spikes and serves. However, it wasn’t enough to counter the powerful spikes by the Saints’ #1 outside hitter Julia Wabinga and #6 outside hitter Kristyn Ross who pushed their team to a 25-22 win.
The third set saw the Nanooks come out with a fire in their belly, as they flew out of the gates to start the set 13-5. Behind the hammering spikes of Harthun, Mattice, Podowicz, and Davis, the set also saw some nice serves from Nanooks’ #17 libero Tessa Butterfield who kept the Saints honest from deep serves to soft serves. The Nanooks showed nothing but dominance in the set, winning 25-12.
The fourth set gave the most excitement out of them all, with the opening showcasing the determination of the Saints. They were not going down without a fight as they rode Riddle, who was controlling the game with her powerful serves. Harthun took it upon herself to will the Nanooks back into the game as they were down 17-22. After a timeout the Nanooks stormed back, and with the home crowd behind them they forced themselves to a 26-24 win.
The Ravn Alaska player of the game was #9 outside hitter Brooke Mattice.