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The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team dropped its first game of the season over the weekend but learned some valuable lessons in the process.
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The Crimson Bears (3-1, 3-1 Southeast) fell 28-26, 26-24, 25-16 at Ketchikan on Friday but rebounded Saturday to down the Lady Kings 25-20, 25-21, 25-14 on Saturday.
"(Friday) I noticed we weren't moving as much. We were tentative," JDHS hitter Kristie Ely said. "(Saturday) we started to cover more, playing more as a group instead of half of us doing it and half not. It was all of us coming together instead of being separate."
Juneau-Douglas improved its defense and focus on Saturday for its third win this season.
Kristen Pratt responded with three blocks, while Rachel Peyton had two blocks and six digs.
Hailey Summers led the team in digs with seven, while Carly Lehnhart and Cortney Wagner added six digs each.
Ely and Nicole Fenumiai had nine kills each on Saturday while sophomore Krista Barril, playing in her first varsity series, had one kill in the win.
"You practice, but when you're playing it doesn't click all the time," Ely said "But you have that one moment where it's like, 'Oh, I get it.' It makes it so much easier."
Wagner had six aces while Pratt and Peyton had one ace each. As a team, JDHS connected on 91 percent of its serves.
"We covered and got every ball we could," Barril said.
On Friday, Ketchikan (1-1, 1-1 Southeast) won the key points in the first two games and went on to earn the victory.
"They have a really, really good server and their defense is really good," Ely said of Kayhi. "You hit a ball hard, and they manage to get under it and find an area. They have an awesome defensive team, and they have smart hitters."
JDHS struggled a bit with its serving on Friday, giving away points with an occasional bad service.
"I think yesterday we weren't as focused, and we really nervous," Barril said. "We were playing nervous instead of confident."
Ely led the team in kills with nine while Fenumiai added seven kills. Summers and Pratt contributed six kills each.
Wagner added four aces while Barril was a perfect 5-for-5 serving in the loss.
Defensively, Pratt had two blocks while libero Carly Lehnhart posted 14 digs.
While the team may have been a little up-and-down over the weekend, Lehnhart's defensive play and passing ability proved rock solid.
Lehnhart posted 38 passes on Friday and 35 on Saturday. JDHS coach and team statistician Pat Gorman said she didn't shank one pass the whole weekend.
As the libero, she serves as the team's defensive specialist. However, she's also responsible for being the first girl to receive the ball over the net. Her ability to provide perfect passes to her teammates kick-starts Juneau's offense.
"Both nights Carly played amazing," JDHS coach Sandi Wagner said. "She passed extremely well. There was no comparison. She was definitely our go-to girl."
Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or email@example.com.