JIVE is back, bigger and better than before.
The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team hosts the 13th annual Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza starting today and concluding Saturday.
This year's tournament boasts a 12-team field - up from seven or eight teams the past few years - which makes it one of the larger prep tournaments in the state. The Juneau varsity and JV squads will both play, and they'll be joined by Ketchikan, Sitka, Haines, Mount Edgecumbe, Petersburg, Wrangell, Colony, Cordova, Glennallen and Palmer.
The tourney kicks off with best two-of-three round-robin pool play matches starting at 3 p.m. today in the high school's main and auxiliary gyms. The Juneau varsity will play Cordova at 4 p.m. and Mount Edgecumbe at 5 p.m., both in the main gym, while the Crimson Bear JV will play Colony at 4 p.m. and Petersburg at 5 p.m. in the auxiliary gym.
Standings after the afternoon matches will be used to determine seedings for the second round of pool play, which starts at 7:30 p.m. tonight and continues at 9 a.m. Saturday. Each team will play three more best-two-of-three matches to determine seedings for the championship and consolation brackets.
Best-three-of-five placement matches are set to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, with the consolation finals scheduled for 7 p.m. and the championship finals set to begin at about 8 p.m.
"We're going to have some really good competition," Juneau coach Dale Bontrager said. "It'll be good to have our experience tested before we head north again.
"It's going to be a tough tournament. We'll have to play our best just to make the finals."
On Thursday evening, the Juneau varsity played an early-arriving Class 3A Glennallen squad. The Crimson Bears swept the Panthers 25-16, 25-14, 25-18 to improve to 7-3 this season in best-three-of-five matches. Juneau's Torie Powers served for 13 consecutive points in the second game against Glennallen.
The Crimson Bears are 6-2 in best-two-of-three mini-matches this season, giving Juneau a 13-5 record in all matches.
Among the Class 4A JIVE opponents, Colony has had success this season in Region III play. Juneau swept a best-two-of-three mini-match against the Knights at last October's Service-Dimond Invitational.
Juneau last faced Palmer in the semifinals of the last November's state tournament, when the Crimson Bears swept the Moose. The Moose have been struggling a bit this season, though they did take Colony to five games before falling.
The Crimson Bear varsity team has swept four games from Ketchikan and two games from Sitka in Region V play this season.