The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team showed some grit and toughness in a pair of victories over visiting Ketchikan this weekend.
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The Crimson Bears struggled in stretches on Friday and Saturday, but found ways each night to right the ship and secure the series sweep. With the two wins, JDHS secured the regular season Southeast Conference title and will be the top seed in the upcoming regional tournament in Wrangell.
"A roller coaster ride," is how JDHS senior Lindsey Kato described Saturday's win.
"At first, it took us a day to get back into it and pick it up but we're kind of proud because we proved we can go down and come back up all in the same night," she said.
On Saturday, JDHS defeated Ketchikan in a hard-fought 25-15, 25-20, 17-25, 25-21 win. JDHS started Saturday's match in top form. Sarah Christianson and Miller posted strong blocks and Katy Nickerson added a kill to lead the Crimson Bears.
"Mentally we were so ready for this game," Nickerson said. "Because it was our senior night, we just wanted to take it to them so we had good energy on the court."
The strong play continued in the second game as Christianson and Miller smacked down four kills each. Amber Walker, Sammy Roguska, Rachelle Albay and Tara Hansen each added kills in the second game. Ketchikan refused to give in, however.
Led by hitters Tara Hofmann and Marta Geldaker, the Kings fought back to take an 11-7 lead. Later on, a pair of Miller kills cut Ketchikan's led to one point, but Hoffman recorded three kills down the stretch to seal the win.
"It's just the mistakes that brings us down into a rut," MIller said. "I don't think there's anything else bringing us down. It's a mental thing, nothing physical at all."
In the fourth game, the two teams traded shots before a substitute Cortney Wagner entered the game and provided a spark.
With the score tied at 10, Wagner went on a five-point run as momentum moved back to the Crimson Bears. Ketchikan again fought back and cut Juneau's lead to 22-21. JDHS stood tall at the end, though, as Miller's kill gave her side a well-earned senior-night win.
"Even though we went down, we got up and showed improvement," Miller said.
Christianson rattled off 23 kills and added five blocks while Miller contributed 10 kills and a team-high seven blocks in the win. Walker posted eight kills and nine digs.
On Friday, JDHS started strong and held off Ketchikan in the end to post a 25-7, 25-18, 25-19 win.
Walker and Wagner had four aces each to lead JDHS while Christianson chipped in with team highs in kills, 15, and digs, 13.
Walker added 13 kills and three blocks, Rachelle Albay had eight digs and three aces, Roguska contributed three aces and two digs in the win.
The Juneau-Douglas junior varsity won the all-comers tournament over the weekend. The Crimson Bears defeated Klawock 25-18, 27-25 in the final.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com.