Alaska Nanook women's volleyball starts off season right winning 2 out of 3 matches

Erin McGroarty/ Sun Star Reporter
September 4, 2012

The Alaska Nanooks women’s volleyball team opened their season with a decisive victory against Ohio’s Findlay University team, 3-2. The Nanooks competed in games on Friday and Saturday, against California State East Bay, Findlay University and Notre Dame de Namur from California. These games were part of the Flint Hills Resources Nanook Classic, a tournament that starts off the UAF volleyball season each year.

The set scores were as follows: 25 -21, 17-25, 23-25, 25-15 and 15-11. This was the first time since 2007 that the lady Nanooks opened the season with a victory. Coach Phillip Shoemaker expressed his pride after the match with opening the season with a win against the Findlay Oilers.

Some of the Alaska Nanooks Women’s volleyball team gather in the center of the court to congratulate each other after scoring a point during their first game of the Flint Hills Resources Nanook Classic volleyball tournament, Friday Aug 31 in the Patty Center gym. Erin McGroarty/Sun Star

“Definitely sweet,” Shoemaker said.  “Great way to start the season, tremendous energy in the gym, both on the court and in the stands, and hopefully a sign of things to come.”

Freshmen Sam Harthun and Katlyn Mataya showed their promising skill as new players in the match against Findlay. Harthun finished out the five sets with 14 terminations and 11 digs.  Mataya proved to be force to be reckoned with, with a match high of 42 assists. The match ended with a shot total of 161 versus Findlay’s 148. The first match was back and forth points wise, with Findlay and the Nanooks trading points back and forth throughout, and ending with a Nanook victory of 25-21.

The Alaska Nanooks played against Notre Dame de Namur Saturday afternoon, Sept. 1. The Nanooks ended with a match score of 3-1. The set scores were 25-9, 24-26, 25-15 and 25-15.

“In set 2 we just weren’t focused enough on the little things,” Harthun said after the match. “But after that we went back down to the locker room and figured out ‘This is what we want to do, we have to do it, we have to execute,’ and we did and things went our way after that.”

The Alaska Nanooks and the East Bay Pioneers played the final match of the Nanook Classic Saturday night at 7 p.m. California State stole the match with a match score of 3-1. The set scores were 19-25, 25-20, 25-17 and 25-16. The first match started off shaky with the Nanooks stuck at 14-12 for a while. However, they soon rallied with four points in a row to bring in their only victory of the night. Along with Harthun, freshman Ixchelle Oleson also proved to be an asset for the team, shooting very well throughout the match with only one error.

After their victory in the first set, the Nanooks didn’t come close to a lead for the last three sets, ending the tournament with a match loss but high hopes for the rest of the season.

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