The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears varsity volleyball team rolled over the Thunder Mountain Falcons on Saturday, sweeping all three games 3-0 (25-16, 25-16 and 25-12) at JDHS. The sweep came just one night after dropping their first game ever to the Falcons in the rivalry’s short history.
The win completed a two-match, two-day set, with the Bears topping the Falcons 3-1 (27-17, 23-25, 25-4 and 25-23) on Friday.
JDHS coach Sandi Wagner said the Bears played much better as a team on Saturday than the night before, but still have a lot of work to do.
“We had a lot of plays (Friday) where two people went after the ball and misplayed it, where two people when after it and they both let it drop and we didn’t do that at all (Saturday),” she said, “and that makes a huge difference.”
Wagner pointed to serving and passing as the Bears’ biggest areas for improvement.
“Even though we won, our serving was not good at all,” she said. “Our passing was better than (Friday), but we still have a lot of work to do on it.”
On the TMHS side, coach Adrianna Rodriguez said the Falcons are gaining a sense of trust as a team and communicating much better.
“The front row’s learning to trust the back row, and the back row’s learning to communicate better with the front row,” she said. “We’re not as disjointed as we have been and they’re working as a team much better.”
Rodriguez said the Falcons still have to make some adjustments, but are heading in the right direction.
“We really need to work on our defense, making sure we’re in the right position, and our girls need to set up around their blocks better,” she said. “But they’re all things that we can easily achieve in practice. Just little tweaks now and really moving forward with the girls gaining more confidence as we go through the season.”
In the first game, the Bears jumped out to an early 7-2 lead before the Falcons fought back, cutting the deficit to three, 13-10.
Jonelle Staveland led the Falcons’ scoring attack with three kills in the game, and TMHS hung around within striking distance until a late string of JDHS kills helped the Bears cruise to a 25-16 victory.
Senior middle blocker Taylor Vidic led JDHS with five kills. Outside hitter, Chelsea Peterson added four of her own, and Krista Bontrager led the team with five digs. Rachel Doogan converted 8 of 9 serves in the win.
The teams traded points back and forth early on in the second game before the Bears seized control. Again, the pesky Falcons hung around as the Bears were unable to pull away until late, winning 25-16 again.
Kendra Wittwer recorded two kills and one block for TMHS in the game.
Vidic and Carly Gunnerson paced the Bears with two kills each, Bontrager was tops on the team in digs again with three, and Vidic led JDHS with two blocks.
Vidic said the home atmosphere and support from the JDHS fans made a huge difference for the Bears.
“Last night, in the game we lost, they were able to get a 12-point lead on us, and I think we got nervous or lost our focus,” she said. “Tonight, the energy level was up, we were playing more as a team and also just being at home was really nice. The whole football team was there, which was awesome.”
JDHS led 16-10 in the third game before riding seven unanswered points to a relatively easy 25-12 win.
Bontrager had a team-high four kills while also recording three digs for a share of the lead with Peterson.
The Crimson Bears (2-0) travel to Ketchikan next weekend to face the Kings, while the Falcons (0-2) have the week off before hosting the Kings at home.