The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team started slowly last weekend in its first match at Sitka, but closed on a dominating roll to sweep both matches.
The Crimson Bears want to keep that momentum going as they head to Ketchikan for a pair of matches against the Kings this Friday and Saturday. Friday's matches are scheduled at 4 p.m. for C team, 6 p.m. for junior varsity and 8 p.m. for varsity. On Saturday, the matches are 3 p.m. for C team, 5 p.m. for JV and 7 p.m. for varsity.
"We decided to start focusing and to play our game," Juneau sophomore setter Julie Heard said about her team's rebound from a 14-6 deficit in Friday's first game to win the match, 16-14, 15-1, 15-2.
Juneau won Saturday's match, 15-6, 15-4, 15-10.
"We took our energy from that 10-point swing and we used it," Juneau junior setter Callan Janowiec said after she and Heard dominated the matches on defense. "We were both digging the ball real well, and they kept hitting the line where we were."
"We didn't stop from there," Juneau junior middle blocker Amy Neussl said. "I think they weren't expecting us to do it, especially that comeback."
As the Crimson Bears (5-2 overall, 2-0 Region V-Class 4A) head to Ketchikan, they will face a team that returns many of the same players that kept Juneau from posting a perfect region record last year. Ketchikan won one of its four region matches against Juneau, the first time in many years the Crimson Bears lost a match in region play (Juneau's coaches couldn't remember the last loss).
"I think they have a lot of potential, if they play together," Janowiec said of the Kings, who took third place in a tournament in Fairbanks, then beat West Valley and Lathrop when they got stranded in Fairbanks after planes nationwide were grounded following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.
Ketchikan was supposed to play two matches in Juneau on Sept. 14-15, but those matches were postponed when the Kings were stranded in Fairbanks. The varsity matches have been rescheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 24, and Thursday, Oct. 25, while the Ketchikan JV and C teams will play in Juneau's All-Comers Tournament on Oct. 26-27.
The Crimson Bears hope to continue their progress this weekend, but know a sub-par performance can mean a lost match. Heard said one of the team's biggest tasks has been to develop teamwork and consistency, a thought echoed by Neussl.
"Working on our goals has been the big thing, and finding our goals before each match so we can meet them," Neussl said. "We want to develop consistency and intensity throughout the match so we avoid the peaks and valleys."
"And we want to win, too," Janowiec said.