After being pushed to the brink before rallying for a win at Colony on Thursday, Juneau-Douglas faltered in the semifinals before taking out Chugiak 25-18, 25-18 to finish third out of 20 teams Saturday in the Service-Dimond Volleyball Tournament in Anchorage.
Against Colony, the Crimson Bears were flattened 25-8 in Game 1 and topped 25-19 in Game 2 before rebounding to take the last three sets. JDHS won the final three games 25-13, 25-16 and 17-15.
"We didn't start out too great in the first two games," senior setter Vika Toetuu admitted. "But we brought it back to them in the last three. We didn't play our 'A' game, but we played well the last three games."
Senior middle hitter Sarah Tarver had a double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs in the match.
The Crimson Bears finished pool play with a 7-1 record to start the tournament off on Friday. JDHS beat Anchorage Christian School 25-14, 25-12; Service 25-18, 25-17; Soldotna 25-21, 25-17; and split with West Valley 25-18, 18-25 after tweaking the lineup in the last game.
"We did pretty well the first day," Toetuu said. "We won all of our games except the one toward the end against West Valley when the coaches changed the lineup, so there was a little bit of change there. But we still kept it together and played well. We talked a lot and timeouts brought us together and helped us."
The Bears knocked of GCS again 25-18, 25-13 at the start of bracket play on Saturday, but Dimond took the semifinals match 25-23, 22-25 and 15-12. Toetuu said Juneau-Douglas let the match slip away in the final game and probably should have played a better overall.
"I thought that was the best game of the entire tournament, and I think we should have beaten Dimond," she said. "We did really well with our hitting and Sarah Tarver had a lot of great tips. She's really wise with her decisions when putting the ball over the net. We're smart about our plays, but we could have worked better with our passing.
"It would have been a challenge (to win the tournament) because of South, but I definitely think we could have beaten Dimond."
South defeated Dimond 25-22, 25-22 in the championship game.
Toetuu said if the Crimson Bears are able to qualify for state, the team would look forward to a rematch with Dimond.
Coach Sandi Wagner said it was a good tournament for the team to play in and the Bears were tested, showing areas to work on heading into the end of the regular season.
"They didn't play the best they could play, but it was at a level competitive with everyone," she said. "I truly believe if we had gotten more an opportunity to play at a fast pace with Dimond, we would have been closer in the last game.
"We have some things that we need to work on, but I feel pretty good about where they're at right now."
Tarver had 67 kills in the tournament - and 10 in one set against GCS - for an average of nearly 4.5 per game. Taylor Larson added 36 kills.