It took all of 52 minutes of match time for a victor to be decided Friday night.
The Thunder Mountain High School volleyball team wasted no time taking down Ketchikan at the Thunderdome. The Falcons won in straight sets, 25-11, 25-18, 25-5, to pick up their third conference win of the season.
The Kings roster features plenty of new personnel from last season. A uniform controversy between the team and Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District gave pause to some players returning this season.
Maxie Saceda-Hurt and Mary Landes combined for 10 kills and nine aces in the win. The Falcons’ servers found holes in the Kings’ defense all match, placing the ball where the maroon jerseys weren’t.
The Falcons went on a 12-1 run to open the first set and 15-1 run to end the third set.
“It’s nice to come in and be able to do what you want and work on some things,” TMHS coach Arnold Ibias said. “We worked a lot on making sure our pass was where it needed to be so our setter could actually do something with the ball. That was big.”
The Kings were defeated by the Falcons twice already in Ketchikan during the first week of September. Ibias knew his team would have the leg up again in this series, but cautioned his team against complacency, saying, “Don’t play to the pace of the game, play how we want to play.”
The Kings held on to a rare lead at the beginning of the second set, but three consecutive aces by Lani Eshanaur helped get the Falcons back on track.
“She has this little floater thing that she does and people think it’s coming really fast but it really doesn’t,” Ibias said of Eshanaur’s serve. “You’re waiting for it and then it drops in front of you. You’re like, ‘How did that happen?’ It, like, loses energy and falls.”
Ketchikan captain Lezille Sagrado says her team is making the most of what looks to be a long season.
“Compared to last year, we’re getting along way more and we have a lot of team chemistry,” she said. “We’re still working on it day by day.”
Falcons freshman Lily Smith — one of several brand new faces to the varsity program — says team chemistry hasn’t been an issue with her squad.
“We’re all really friendly with each other,” Smith said. “We all know each other’s weaknesses and know each other’s strengths so we can be able to trust each other like that.”
Juneau-Douglas 3, Petersburg 0
Led by Meiner’s eight kills and 10 digs, the Crimson Bears defeated the Vikings 25-17, 25-15, 25-20 on Thursday.
Cassie Dzinich and Leah Spargo turned in five and four aces respectively in the match.
The team departed for Little Norway on Wednesday evening in time to make their Thursday matchup.
Juneau-Douglas 3, Petersburg 1
The Crimson Bears won 25-19, 25-16, 15-25, 25-22 on Friday night in Petersburg.
After playing the Vikings on Thursday, senior Abby Meiners said her team made some adjustments on Friday.
“They have a couple big blocks that we had to work around but I think by the second day we weren’t getting blocked half as much and we were using the blocks instead,” Meiners said. “Our hitters were really hitting smart and I think that helped us to pull out a win.”
The two teams played one another on Saturday night. Coverage of that game can be found at Juneauempire.com
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.