The Seattle University volleyball team went five sets for the third straight match, and for the third time this season, the Redhawks rallied from a 2-1 match deficit, this time defeating the University of Denver Pioneers, 3-2 (19-25, 25-16, 16-25, 25-12, 15-13), for Seattle U's first-ever victory in Western Athletic Conference play.
Sarah Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) led the Seattle U offense with 14 kills, plus she earned two service aces, while Karina Miastkowska (Northbrook, Ill.) contributed nine of her 10 kills in the fourth and fifth sets, and Kaytlyn Dill (Bothell, Wash.) added eight kills, three service aces, and 15 digs. Setter Jacquie Brice (Fullerton, Calif.) notched her second double-double of the season with 40 assists and 12 digs to go along with three service aces of her own, and libero Lani Beadle (Seattle, Wash.) finished with 18 defensive digs to lead the team.
"We had great teamwork tonight, especially coming out of the tough loss against New Mexico State Thursday night," Brice said. "My teammates played great tonight, especially in the passing game. Lani passed 90 percent perfect, which is unheard of, so I am happy for her. We worked well with the coaches; it was a great crowd, a great atmosphere, to get our first WAC game."
Denver (6-5, 0-2 WAC) scored the first four points of the match and never relinquished the lead in the first set. Seattle U came within one point three times, the last at 13-12, before two kills from Colleen King and a block by Cassie Ronda and Brea Muhle gave the Pioneers a four-point advantage. Faimie Kingsley would close out the first set with a kill for the visiting team.
Seattle U took the lead in the second set and never gave it up, with Dill notching two kills and back-to-back service aces to help extend the Redhawks' advantage to 8-3. King earned two kills and a solo block to help Denver score five unanswered points, but Seattle U would eventually end the set on a 10-3 scoring run, led by three kills from Jaeckel and two kills by Brice.
The third set started out close, as Seattle U took a 7-4 lead before Denver responded with three straight points thanks to a kill and a block assist each from Ronda and Kingsley. A block by Kingsley and King put the Pioneers ahead, 11-10, and Denver would continue extending the lead the rest of the set, outscoring Seattle U 11-3, punctuated by kills from King and Michele Swope.
Three block assists and a kill by Kingsley to start the fourth set put Denver ahead, 4-2, but back-to-back kills by Miastkowska brought Seattle U right back into the set. Seattle U would go on a 6-2 scoring run to take a 13-9 lead, and then on Brice's serve score eight straight points to open a significant advantage. The Redhawks would cruise to the fourth set victory, forcing the fourth five-set match for Seattle U this season.
Three kills by Miastkowska put the Redhawks ahead, 3-1, but a 5-1 scoring run by Denver gave the Pioneers a 6-4 advantage. Seattle U would strike back, scoring five unanswered points to pull ahead, 9-6, and then back-to-back kills by Dill and Miastkowska set up match point for the Redhawks. Kingsley would keep Denver in the match with two block assists and a kill, but Jaeckel finally closed out the set and the match with a kill.
"Our goal each day is to play better than we did in the previous match. It was good to see us serve and pass at critical times and successfully close out the match this time, which we did not do Thursday," Seattle U acting head coach Teron Uy said. "I was proud of Jackie, especially of her ability to distribute the offense and maintain good composure at crunch time."
Allison Farley (Happy Valley, Ore.) played well during the night, finishing with seven kills, a .417 hitting percentage, and three total blocks. Freshman Andi Lowrance (Phoenix, Ariz.) made a nice contribution off the bench for the Redhawks, collecting four kills, three digs, and two block assists.
King led all players with 18 kills, plus she earned seven total blocks, while Kingsley notched a double-double with 10 kills and 13 total blocks. Frances Carroll finished with 32 assists, three service aces, eight defensive digs, and two block assists, and Pioneer libero Lyndi Johnson led everyone with 19 defensive digs during the match.
Seattle University (6-6, 1-1 WAC) will hit the road next weekend for conference matches at Utah State (Sept. 20) and at San Jose State (Sept. 22) before returning to the Connolly Center for a three-match WAC homestand against UTSA (Sept. 27), Texas State (Sept. 29), and Idaho (Oct. 5).