The Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza, or JIVE by athletes who ice hands, feet, and pride after two grueling days of over 20 games more commonly call it, is set to begin Friday at noon on the Juneau-Douglas gymnasium courts.
The annual marathon of volleyball action will feature 14 teams including all the 3A/4A southeast squads, three powers from out of region, and one little school that could do some damage.
“The coolest thing about JIVE is we get teams from out of region,” JDHS assistant Dale Bontrager said. “We have Cordova, Palmer and Eagle River coming. It will expose the Southeast kids to a higher level of volleyball earlier in the season rather than just at state. “
Palmer is scorching teams in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley, Cordova is a traditional 3A powerhouse, and Eagle River is potentially a state contender.
Thunder Mountain coach Adriana Rodriguez stated the JIVE is the preemptive regionals tournament.
“All the teams have improved a lot and now we get to see where we need to improve before regionals,” Rodriguez said. “You have had enough time to work out all the kinks in your program, but then, everyone has improved a lot.”
Rodriguez stated the Falcons are working hard on seeing the court better and the added competition in the JIVE is invaluable.
“We want to see the court better,” Rodriguez said. “If we see the holes better we can place hits to the opponents’ weak spots.”
JDHS head coach Sandi Wagner stated the value of JIVE is playing a lot of volleyball in a short period of time.
“We are allowed by the state volleyball tournament to play all day long and only count it as two matches in our 25 allowed during the season,” Wagner said. “That gives us a lot of contact time in a short period. It gives us the opportunity to see teams we normally would not see. Even though they are not in our league it is nice to play different teams and see different things on the other side of the net so we can adjust.”
JIVE attendees Juneau, Palmer, Craig and Mt. Edgecumbe all battled in last year’s state championships and 2A Klawock took fourth place at that venue, beating Skagway for the honor. Throw in the height of Sitka and Petersburg, the improving play of Ketchikan and Haines, the feisty Metlakatla and Wrangell spikers and fans will see an interesting dynamic each time they watch a two-game match.