Hockey takes win, volleyball & swimming fall short
Aaron Walling / Sun Star
Hockey splits weekend series
The Alaska Nanooks hockey team had a Jekyll and Hyde performance this weekend, splitting a two game series with their conference foe, the #9 nationally-ranked Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks. After getting beat up on Friday night, the Nanooks responded with a win on Saturday.
Looking at both the performances, you couldn’t tell it was the same team. In the first game, the Nanooks were called for eight penalties. Those penalties resulted in three power play goals for the Mavericks. The Nanooks lost Friday 7-1, but turned their fortunes around Saturday with a 4-2 win.
“Obviously, tonight’s game was a tough one to swallow,” Head Coach Dallas Ferguson said, following Friday’s game. “Against good teams like that, you have to make your margin of error very minimal. We got behind early and couldn’t quite get anything going after that.
One of the bigger struggles of the match was the Nanooks inability to get any shots on the Mavericks’ goal, managing only 16 shots compared to the Mavericks’ 45 . The Nanooks only point came from junior Austin Vieth, early in the third period on a shorthand goal.
That all changed the next day, as the Nanooks gave the Mavericks their first loss of the season. They erupted in the second period with three goals, with two of them from power plays. Both teams’ defenses came alive, shutting down shots for the rest of the game. The Nanooks fired 22 shots, compared to the Mavericks 27.
“I think after last night’s effort we weren’t happy and a little embarrassed, but I think the guys did a good job of staying with it,” Ferguson said after Saturday’s win.
This was a team effort in their win, and with that it brings their conference record to 1-1. Now they head into their next matchup against the undefeated Lake Superior State University Lakers (4-0) on Oct. 28 and 29 in Michigan.
Nanooks swim team competes in season opener
The Alaska Nanooks women’s swimming team opened their season against what is considered to be the strongest NCAA Division II team this season in the Drury State Panthers. The Nanooks lost both their meets against the Panthers during the weekend, but it wasn’t all bad news.
Despite losing both the matches, the Nanooks came away with wins over the Panthers in some of the events. As swimmers like juniors Martha Hood and Katie Stark led their team to a 400-yard medley relay race with seniors Victoria Adams and Nga Nguyen. They beat a pair of national contenders for the U.S. national swimming championships on the Panthers. The Nanooks won two other events; the 100 yard breaststroke and 200-yard freestyle relay. However, it was Nguyen’s excellent dive during the middle of the 400-yard relay that made up for the 1.6 second split between the Nanooks and the Panthers. After that, Hood and Stark raced out to give the Nanooks the win in the event.
“Drury was as good as they were advertised. I brought them up here to give us a test early on and that’s exactly what happened,” Head Coach Scott Lemley said following the Friday meet. “They are arguably the best Division II women’s team in NCAA history, but our swimmers still stepped up to the competition and swam very well,”
And ready they were, as they made the Saturday meet a much closer contest of 105-94. Even though it was a loss, the Nanooks hold their heads up high as they fought against a team that is considered one of the greatest programs in NCAA Division II history.
It also showcased another strong outing for Stark, who took first in the 200-yard freestyle, as the Nanooks battled throughout the meet.
“As with yesterday’s meet, we achieved a number of nationally ranked times today,” Lemley said on Saturday. “Cassidy Heaton continues to tear up the pool with a 17:46.26 mile time, which currently ranks her sixth nationally. By far, the 400 medley relay we swam yesterday with Victoria Adams, Nga Nguyen, Martha Hood and Katie Stark was our best swim of the weekend.”
The Nanooks now prepare for their next meet, which is against Azusa Pacific University on Oct. 28 and 29.
Nanooks defeated in Vikings match up
The Nanooks volleyball team struggled against their conference foes this past week, as they are in the midst of a 11 game losing streak. This season they have won a set in four straight matches.
The Nanooks lost to the #19 nationally ranked Western Washington Vikings, with the opposing defense stifling them at the line. In the next match, they lost to Simon Fraser University Clan. This time it was the Clan’s length on the frontline that throttled the Nanooks offense.
“It’s tough to come out of tonight’s game with a loss, but I thought there were good improvements,” Head Coach Brian Scott said following Thursday’s game against Western Washington. “I thought we had nice hitting percentages tonight, but there’s still room to cut down on more errors.”
Errors are killing the Nanooks in these matches. In the past two games, the volleyball team racked up 17 service errors and 28 attack errors. Despite some nice plays from junior Angela Molesworth, who had 16 kills against the Vikings, the Nanooks couldn’t stem the bleeding as both the Clan and Vikings piled on the points. The Clan’s Tessa May, who stands 6’3’’, dominated the net the entire match, holding the Nanooks to a low hitting percentage of .077 against the Vikings’ .239.
So where do the Nanooks go from here? Their next match is against the their rival from down south, the #7 nationally-ranked Alaska Seawolves, who just lost to the Vikings. The last time these two teams faced off, the Seawolves took a 3-0 sweep and stifled the Nanooks’ chances of an upset. The next match takes place in Anchorage on Oct. 25.