The women’s volleyball team from the University of Alaska Anchorage had its best-ever finish over the weekend.
The Seawolves claimed second place in the NCAA Division II National Tournament, ultimately losing in the championship game.
Top-ranked Concordia-St.Paul beat the Seawolves in three sets, 25-19, 25-12 and 25-12 to claim the national title.
In spite of the loss, UAA head coach Chris Green said the tournament was a great experience for the squad.
“Hopefully we learned something tonight, learned what it takes to be a national champion, you know?” Green said.
The Seawolves were led by senior, All-American setter Morgan Hooe. Playing a national championship game is the pinnacle of Hooe’s collegiate volleyball career, which ended with this tournament.
“Coming in with seven new kids this year, I honestly never thought we’d get this far,” Hooe said. “But, you know, they surpassed everything I thought about them. So it’s been a hell of a last season, and even though we’re second in the nation, I mean, we’re second in the nation, and we’re from Alaska, so that’s pretty amazing in itself.”
Hooe was also named to the NCAA all-tournament team along with her teammate, sophomore outside hitter Chrisalyn Johnson.
Coach Green sid the team has received an extraordinary amount of support from the community on the way to its national tournament bid.
“And you can see it when you come to our home matches and you see 1,200; 1,400; 2,700 people in the stands,” Green said. “We have middle school girls who look up to these players and they want to be the next Morgan Hooe, so it means a lot. Alaska volleyball, we hope, we’re helping those young girls in the state of Alaska want to be volleyball players. We want those best athletes to become volleyball players. And these guys are the role models that are making that happen.”
UAA will only lose two players from this squad to graduation – Hooe and middle blocker Erin Braun.
The other 12 members will be back with the Seawolves next year for another run at a national championship.