The Annual Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza 2012 will feature a variety of experience and talent coming into the Juneau-Douglas High School gymnasium. Last season’s third-place state tournament 4A finisher, the West Valley Wolfpack from the Mid-Alaska Conference, and the state sixth-place finisher Crimson Bears, and the 3A state tournament sixth-place finisher Petersburg Vikings, from Southeast Conference, will be in the mix.
Also attending are the SE Con. 4A Thunder Mountain Falcons and Ketchikan Kings, 3A Sitka Wolves and 2A Haines Glacier Bears, and the Cook Inlet Conference’s 4A West Anchorage Eagles and Eagle River Wolves.
The Falcons are on the verge of becoming dominant; they have the skills and players to break through into the upper tiers of play with seniors Natalie Montez, Kendra Wittwer, Darbee Hickok, Katrina Greenlief, Kylie Ibias, Michelle Manning and Claire White, juniors Jenna Luhrs and Makayla Pierce and sophomore Danielle Steinman. The Crimson Bears are still holding on to the southeast top seed and feature seniors Rachel Doogan, Chelsea Peterson, Sally Paul and Amberli Fitka, and underclassmen Gracie Meiners, Kayla Balovich, Tori Fogg, Madelyn Mckeown, Kaitlin Fagerstrom, Cora Bontrager and Brandi Hall.
The Kayhi Kings have quality servers that can overcome opponents in a drawn out match and have the potential to stitch together a championship season. Players to watch include Jayley Taylor and Tylynn Ward at the net and Faith Clark, Kaia Michalsen and Felicia Ruaro at the line. The Vikings are one of the scrappiest teams in the mix, and can survive a tough tournament set up when Jael Swanson is on her serve and Sam Marifern and Kayley Thorsen are killing at the net. Sitka graduated their tough front line and will be more skillful across the floor, while Haines is just beginning their season.
West Anchorage has two six-footers and is coached by one of the state’s best in Mike Benson. Players to watch include Rita Dexter and Jamie Bingham. Eagle River is coached by Gary Steinfort, whose daughter Kristen played for the played middle hitter for the Crimson Bears from 1989-93. Steinfort was also an assistant coach at Ketchikan and head coach at Wasilla. The Wolves’ Tess Anderson, Morgen Wohrle, Gabbi LeCates and Cheyane Yaw are players to watch. West Valley players to watch include Christina Bussell, Tori Howdeshell, Emma Benjamin and Katherine Alexander on court digs and Jessica Rice, Jessie Martellaro and Lauren Slater at the net.
The nine teams attending will be divided into three pools to begin play. The Lap Pool consists of Ketchikan, Sitka and West Valley; The Tide Pool features Eagle River, Haines and Juneau-Douglas; and the Wave Pool has Petersburg, Thunder Mountain and West Anchorage.
In Pool Play teams will compete in two games to 25 points.
Teams then are seeded into Bracket Play and compete in best two of three games to 25, with the deciding game to 15. Seeding in bracket play is based on pool win-loss records, head to head win-loss record, head to head point differential, overall point differential, and rock paper scissors.
In last year’s JIVE, the Crimson Bears lost in the Gold Bracket championship match to Palmer 27-25 and 25-19 and the Falcons fell in the Silver Bracket title game to Haines 25-16, 25-16.
JIVE play begins today at 3 p.m., please see schedule for game times and opponents.