The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball squad played on the edge Friday, then played at their peak Saturday to post a weekend sweep of the host Ketchikan Kings.
The Crimson Bears remained undefeated on the year with the hard-fought victories - 17-25, 21-25, 25-11, 25-15, 15-10 on Friday and 25-11, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18 Saturday.
Friday night's match saw Juneau taken to the brink of its first defeat of the season, as Ketchikan stormed out to win the first two games in the best-of-five match.
"Ketchikan played very well," Juneau co-coach Pat Gorman said. "They brought a lot of offense at us, served very well and had us on our heels. ... But our kids played very well to close it out."
Juneau junior Lesley Kalbrener had 19 kills for the match and junior Hannah Barril served 24-for-26 with six aces to help the Crimson Bears battle back. Gorman said senior Carly Garrison came in off the bench to play at outside hitter during the fourth game, and performed well in the high-pressure match.
On Saturday, Juneau (12-0 overall, 6-0 Southeast) played some of its best volleyball of the season to open the match.
"The first game (Saturday), the kids showed us what they could do. They had their 'A' game," Gorman said. While the quality of play slipped a little the rest of the match, "they let the cat out of the bag. We know they can do it now."
Junior Alycia Cox was a perfect 14-for-14 serving with five aces in the first game, while junior Torie Powers was 26-for-26 serving with three aces for the entire match. Kalbrener had 21 kills for the match, while junior Sara Manning and sophomore Sarah Christianson added nine kills apiece.
Barril had 26 digs and Cox added 20.
"Those two played incredible defense," Gorman said of the junior duo.
Gorman said the intense games between the two teams should help Juneau on its next trip north in mid-October.
"I love it - it makes both teams better," he said. "It's good for the region, and good for us when we go up north to have faced this offense."
With the two victories Juneau clinched the top seed for the Southeast Region Class 4A tournament that takes place Nov. 4-6 in Craig. Ketchikan fell to 2-4 and Sitka is 0-4 in region play, and the worst Juneau could do the rest of the season is have two region losses.
The Juneau junior varsity and C teams also swept Ketchikan both nights. The Crimson Bear JV won 25-12, 29-27, 25-17 on Friday and 25-6, 25-17, 25-15 on Saturday. Juneau's C team won 23-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-6 on Friday and 25-20, 25-14, 25-11 on Saturday.
This weekend the Crimson Bears will host their biggest home event of the season - the annual Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza, or JIVE Tournament. Details on the tourney will run later this week in the Empire sports section.
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