Boom Babies



That’s what Crimson Bears and Falcons say when the volleyball is crushed through a defender, bounces off the court and ricochets into a photographer’s camera, blackening his eye.

There will be lots of that voicing going on this season if Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain keep playing as they have.

The Crimson Bears will host Petersburg on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the JDHS gym (JV go at 4:45). The traditional 3A power Vikings always prove to be an interesting mix of height and speed.

The Falcons will host Ketchikan on Thursday at 8 p.m. in the TMHS gym (JV 6:15, C 4:30). The two squads had close matches during the recent Jamboree at TMHS and both sides should have improved with two weeks of play elapsed.

JDHS will host the Kings on Friday at 8 p.m. (JV 6:15 p.m., C 4:30 p.m.) and on Saturday, the three varsity teams will be getting final matches in (times not yet determined).

The Crimson Bears just finished a house cleaning of the Kings on the Kayhi court, sweeping their hosts on consecutive weekend nights and getting the first advantage in Southeast Conference play, where just one of three 4A teams will qualify at the regional tournament on Nov. 6-8 in Sitka/Mt. Edgecumbe for a trip to Anchorage’s state venue (the Vikings, Wolves and Lady Braves will battle for the one 3A spot).

Friday’s sweep featured senior Gracie Meiners putting a southpaw service ace down five times and sophomore Maddie McKeown adding four. McKeown also killed seven shots at the net while Thunder Mountain senior transfer Makayla Pierce added four, classmate Kayla Balovich four and Meiners three. The Crimson Bears controlled the net for a 25-18, 25-15 and 25-15 match win.

Saturday saw the JDHS team post 25-15, 25-19 and 25-18 scores, giving Kayhi plenty of practice diving for digs and earning their sets.

When Kayhi pulled close, the Crimson Bears relied on their Boom Babies to stifle any rally.

Pierce notched two straight aces and after a few miscues and points back and forth, Balovich won the match with another stunning serve. JDHS had 9 aces in the match, four from Pierce and two via sophomore Tori Fogg. Balovich led both sides with eight kills, McKeown six, Pierce and senior Kaitlin Fagerstrom four apiece. Meiners played strong defensively with 18 digs, junior Cora Bontrager picked up 16 and Fagerstrom nine.

The Falcons followed up a strong Friday showing at the West Valley Spiketacular in Fairbanks with a Saturday encore.

One of Friday’s three losses came to tournament champion West Valley, meaning the Falcons are in the mix for serious volleyball considerations behind the blasting hits of senior Jenna Luhrs.

“A power player is someone who has a lot of strength and can hit the ball hard and is smart about it,” JDHS assistant Dale Bontrager said. “There are a lot of people who can hit the ball hard but it doesn’t always go inbounds or they are not aware of the block or they hit it right to somebody. If you can hit hard and direct the ball where the open court is you are a power player.”

That basically describes Crimson Bears’ Balovich, Meiners, Pierce and McKeown; and the Falcons’ Luhrs, senior Mallorie Weigman, juniors Claire White and Heather Alducin and improving sophomores Sheridan Cook and Ava Tompkins.

Yes, yes, I know. A lot of this booming stuff doesn’t happen without some stellar service returns, dynamite digs, perfectly placed sets and, of course, a nicely timed “roof” or two. That is for another column.

Today is all about the boom baby.

“Boom,” they yell.

And then they say, “Baby.”

I think that last word is for me.

Drying my tears, trying to pick a camera out of my eye.

Contact Sports Editor Klas Stolpe at 523-2228 or at


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback