Posted with permission, article and pictures, courtesy of Chaminade University
HONOLULU – In the 2021 Hawai’i-Alaska Challenge, the Chaminade University women’s volleyball team took a pair of five-set thrillers from the University of Alaska.
Less than a year later, the Nanooks returned the favor, handing the 25th-ranked Silverswords a 25-18, 22-25, 25-13, 21-25, 12-15 loss in their 2022 season opener Friday at McCabe Gymnasium.
In defeat, Brooklen Pe’a (Woods Cross, Utah/Youngstown State/Bountiful HS) and newcomer Sophie Schilling (Berlin, Germay/Alaska/Schul- and Leistungssportzentrun Berlin HS) each put down a team-high 12 kills while Greta Corti (Varese, Italy/San Francisco/Alessandro Manzoni Liceo HS) added 10. Corti and Pe’a each came up with 14 digs while Schilling had five total blocks against the school she played for from 2019 to ’21.
Karli Nielson had 12 kills to lead the Nanooks, who improved 2-0, just hours after sweeping Hawai’i Hilo earlier in the afternoon to kick off the Challenge.
The loss snapped Chaminade’s six-match winning streak to UAF, dating back to the 2009 season.
Preseason Pacific West Conference Player and Setter of the Year Alexia Byrnes (Chicago/Youngstown State/St. Francis HS) had 36 assists and 18 digs, falling two kills shy of a triple-double. Lataisia Saulala (Morgan Hill, Calif./Oakwood) had seven kills and three total blocks.
Two more Silversword newcomers, Sasha Colombo (Milan, Italy/Colorado State/Liceo Scientifico Giordano Bruno HS) and Allexis Iramina (Honolulu/Moanalua) had impressive debuts. Colombo put down nine attacks while Iramina had four service aces and six digs in her first collegiate match.
A 6-1 run late in the first set helped the ‘Swords pull away, capped by 4-0 run to take a 1-0 lead.
After dropping the second set, Chaminade put the clamps down in the third, thanks in part to Iramina’s three aces during an 8-1 surge.
But UAF rallied to take the fourth, sending the match into a decisive fifth set where the Nanooks took an early led before the Silverswords forced an 11-all deadlock. However Chaminade surrendered costly back-to-back receptions late in the set to help Alaska pull out the win.
The Silverswords put down 58 kills and hit .250 to the Nanook’s 51 kills and .193 attack percentage. UAF amassed 10 total team blocks to CUH’s nine. Both teams had success at the service line with 13 aces for the visitors and 12 for the home team.
The ‘Swords wrap up the Hawai’i-Alaska Challenge with a pair of matches Saturday at McCabe Gym. They will face Alaska Anchorage, a squad ranked just outside the AVCA Division II Top 25 Poll at 3 p.m. then will have a rematch with the Nanooks at 7:30 p.m.