SFU’s Volleyball squad had its senior night on November 14, and they made it a memorable one for the grads with a 3–0 victory over the visiting University of Alaska–Fairbanks Nanooks. It was the last home match of the season, and the victory brings them up to 13–13 on the season.
The Clan had just come off a 3–1 loss courtesy of the nationally-ranked University of Alaska–Anchorage Seawolves, and they were keen not to let the northern schools pull a double over them. The Clan got the first point of the match and never looked back, constantly pressuring the Nanooks with a barrage of powerful spikes and deft dinks.
The West Gym crowd got to witness history early in the first set, as Alaska–Fairbanks outside hitter Sam Harthun set a GNAC record with her 1462nd kill. She was by far the Nanooks’ strongest player, constantly giving the Clan headaches with powerful serves and well-placed spikes. However, the ladies of SFU were able to weather the Alaskan storm early on, and went on to control the rest of the match.
“It always starts with our passing and serving,” said SFU coach Gina Schmidt after the match. “We handled the ball well on the first contact and we put them into trouble with some good serving on our part. It helped our defense and transition game and we had contributions from all of our attackers, and when everyone is scoring, it makes life easy.”
One of those high scorers was SFU Senior Jessica Young, who led the team with 13 kills and three aces. The other two seniors, Helen Yan and Danielle Curtis, also did an excellent job in their last home games, helping to keep the Nanooks at bay throughout the three sets.
SFU took the first set by a score of 25–18, and continued to put the pedal to the metal in the next set. Emma Jennings had a number of strong kills early in the match, and she continued this form in the middle frame as well. The Nanooks were left completely flummoxed by her power and precision, and had no answer for it the entire match. Devon May was also a nightmare for the visitors, smashing the ball at will. She finished off the match with 12 kills and two blocks, and helped the Clan take the second set 25–15.
The third set began in the same way the second ended, with SFU overpowering Alaska–Fairbanks. Whenever Alaska did manage to get themselves a chance at a point, SFU’s defense would show its strength and pull off an improbably dig or a brave block. The Clan’s pressure was too much for the Nanooks, and the third set ended 25–14.
After the match, when senior Jessica Young was asked about her favourite moment playing for the Clan, she said “That is the hardest question you could have possibly asked me because I’ve had so many great moments here [. . .] It’s been a great run, and I’m so appreciative of the fact that I even got to be here and that I got to meet all these people and play with them and learn from them.”
After the performance today, it seems like SFU volleyball will be filled with great moments for years to come.