Thunder Mountain Falcons fall to Ketchikan spikers again

Thunder Mountain High School’s season came to a close in the Class 4A Region V volleyball tournament’s elimination match on Friday as they fell to Ketchikan 25-21, 16-25, 25-10, 25-21.

“The girls played hard,” TMHS head coach Adriana Northcutt said. “They never gave up. We battled and stayed in it.”

Ketchikan’s Faith Clark served the Kings to a 4-0 advantage before a scooping Jenna Luhrs gained possession for the game’s first tie. The teams would knot the score at 6 when Ketchikan regained service possession on an unforced error; at 8 when Luhrs hit a passing shot; at 12 on a double block by Wittwer and Michelle Manning; at 13 on a Falcons service error; at 14 on a Manning kill; 15 on a Greenlief ace; and at 16 on Kings’ Tylynn Ward possession.

After an ace by Wittwer, the Falcons were penalized again for touching the net and the score was tied at 17. A tie came at 18 when Pierce blocked a shot and after a Pierce kill the Falcons missed a serve to knot 19.

Jayley Taylor smashed a tie for the Kings at 20 and Ketchikan freshman Felicia “Fish” Ruaro served to 23-20, forcing a Falcons’ time out. Pierce netted a chip shot but killed a point to regain service at 24-21. TMHS put an unforced error into the net for the loss.

In game two the Falcons forced a Ketchikan time out at 8-2 behind the serve placing of Montez. After the breather, Montez aced the ninth point, but the Falcons hit the net. Again neither team could control service longer than three points until Greenlief moved the Falcons to 17-9 and forced Ketchikan’s second time out. Luhrs and Wittwer teamed up to kill on 18 and Greenlief aced 19 before Ketchikan’s Taylor put a tip to the deep corner.

The Falcons regained service on a block and Wittwer served to 23. The Kings gained on a service error but Pierce killed point 24. Again the Kings took possession and Clark smashed to pull within 24-14 and Mary Keele aced points 15 and 16, forcing a Falcons’ time out. A service return by Greenlief was the game winner at 25-16.

A wall by Manning and Wittwer set the tone for game three defensively for the Falcons, but offensively unforced errors allowed Ketchikan to stay in and go past striking distance. After trailing 2-0 Clark served the Kings to 7-2 and forced Thunder Mountain’s second match time out. Neither team put together a sustained service until the Kings’ Brianna McLaughlin served six times to a 19-8 advantage and the Falcons’ third time out. Wittwer killed for 19-9 but an unforced error gave Clark serves to 22. McLaughlin killed point 23 and dug up Clark’s kill at 24. The Falcons hit into the net to fall 25-10.

Thunder Mountain fell behind 8-1 in game four and were forced to call their fourth time out. Trailing 13-4, the Falcons got behind ace Montez who served to 13-8 with a kill by Wittwer at nine that forced the Kings to burn a time out as well. The Kings regrouped to lead 18-9 before Ibias killed a line shot and served two aces to pull within 18-12. The teams shared possessions to 19-13 until Luhrs served point 14, hit long for point 15 and a Kings error made 16. Ketchikan’s Taylor calmed the momentum by serving from 20-22 and forced TMHS’ fifth time out of the match. A net serve gave Wittwer the serve. Pierce killed a shot to pull within 22-17, Wittwer aced to 18, Pierce and Manning blocked for 19 and Pierce blocked 20 forcing the Kings to call time out.

Thunder Mountain pulled within one before Taylor killed a shot and the Falcons miss hit and Taylor killed match point, 25-21.

“We are really proud of them,” Northcutt said. “They fought every point. They came back from a pretty big deficit. As a team, as individuals they have grown so much from the first weeks’


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