UAA sets new NCAA DII volleyball attendance record with 3,888 fans

Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 7:10 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The new NCAA Division II regular-season attendance record belongs to the UAA Seawolves and the Alaska sports community.

3,888 fans packed into the Alaska Airlines Center Saturday night to witness the #5 Seawolves sweep their conference foes in Central Washington.

“Just knowing that we — Alaska, Anchorage — could break that record just means a lot. It obviously shows why we come in here and play,” senior Eve Stephens, of Palmer, said. “Just having them here was like insane. It was so loud, you could just see it on Central Washington’s face, like, ‘woah,’ it is just really nice having their support all the time.”

On the historic night, the program also recognized five graduating players in Stephens, Ellen Floyd, Lisa Jaunet, Makana Eleneki and Talia Leauanae.

“It exceeded expectations actually,” Leauanae, of Wailuku, Hawaii, said. “It was very surreal, and especially being senior night and having my entire family there it just was an undescribable experience, one of the best nights I have ever had in this gym.”

It was a lofty goal set at the beginning of the year to break the 26-year-old record of 3,520 fans for a Division II regular-season volleyball game set by the University of Nebraska Omaha in 1996. However, with the unwavering support over the years, with the program leading DII in average attendance from 2015-2018, they knew it was possible.

”We’ve always had great fan support, but to get almost 4,000 people in this arena says a lot about Anchorage and the community and the support for volleyball,” head coach Chris Green said, currently in his 15th season with the program.

The Seawolves, the top-ranked team in the West Region, improved their record to 25-2 on the season while spiking out a long-standing record from the books.

”We’re a part of history now and I think that is a great goal that we achieved and we are just going to keep pushing forward,” Floyd said. “Feeling that support, you feel like you have the pride of your whole community behind you and it makes you want to even play harder than you already do.”

UAA will wrap up the regular season on the road this week with away matches at Western Oregon on Thursday and Saint Martin’s on Friday. The NCAA DII West Regional Championships are set for the following week, where the top-seeded team, which is currently the Seawolves, will host the tournament.