The Seattle University volleyball team closed out their fall season in dramatic fashion last week, coming from behind to beat their southern rivals from the University of Portland. It took a few sets for the team to find its groove, however, once Seattle settled in the Pilots made several mistakes, allowing the Redhawks an exciting come from behind victory.
While the Pilots held a lead for most of the match, the Redhawks maintained a competitive edge, their voices and cheers echoing around the Seattle Academy Gymnasium, the team’s temporary home while the O’Brien Center remains
In the fourth set, sophmore Jenela Vujcin and junior Kerry Lane completed three quick kills, giving the Redhawks an early lead. Then, a third kill by freshman Maja Stojanovic later in the set gave Seattle U a 9-5 lead, however, the Pilots responded with an 8-1 scoring run led by the fearsome Katie Sullivan, who completed two block assists and a kill, allowing her Pilots to pull
Seattle U answered with four points of their own, coming off of consecutive blocks by the freshman-senior combo of Shae Harris and Martina Samadan and a third block by Stojanovic, putting the Hawks up 19-17. The Pilots responded with another impressive scoring run, pummeling their way to a 23-20 lead.
Another run by Seattle U, highlighted by an impressive service ace from Iris Ivanis, brought Seattle U within striking range, however, a kill by Hannah Troutman and a block by Sullivan and Emily Liger gave the Pilots an opportunity to slam the door on the Redhawk comeback. But the Seattle U’s resolve was not yet spent.
After a Pilot service error, a kill by Emily Liger brought the match back to a tie, but the Redhawks fought back thanks to Samadan, who went on a tear, earning a kill and two block assists, further extending the match.
After the Hawks opened the fifth set with a 7-1 scoring run and the Pilots had used both of their timeouts, Samadan capped her final match in a Redhawk uniform with a booming kill that sealed the Redhawk victory.
Samadan’s success—not only in the match but throughout the season—has been noted across the league. Indeed, she was voted First Team All-WAC for her second consecutive year.
“It’s always great to finish the season with a win. I am happy for Martina’s effort, we received contributions from both setters, and several players helped us defensively,” Seattle U head coach James Finley said. “In clutch time, we had some great performances. It took us a while to figure out what [Portland was] doing offensively, but I am pleased that we were able to push through and close out tonight’s match.”
Seattle University finished their 2015 season with an 18-11 overall record, tying the school record for second-most victories in a single season in the program’s history. The team looks stronger than ever and while they will lose Samadan at the end of the year, the rest of the team will remain intact, leading one to believe that more success is in store for this strong program.
Will may be reached at [email protected]