When the Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball squad plays at the region championships this weekend in Craig, the Crimson Bears will work toward a bright future by letting go of the past.
All week in practice, Juneau players have been following the motto "play in the now." The defending region champion Crimson Bears want to "stay in the moment and don't dwell on the errors," junior Torie Powers said. "Forget about the last play if it was bad. If it was good, you don't have to forget about it, but stay focused."
"We're trying to get them to focus on playing the next ball, the next point of the game," Juneau coach Sandi Wagner said.
The Crimson Bears are 16-0 in best three-of-five matches this season, including 8-0 in Southeast Class 4A competition against Sitka and Ketchikan. That record earned them the top spot and a first-round bye at this year's region tourney, as the three schools will compete for the region's lone berth at next week's state tournament in Anchorage.
While Juneau sports a perfect record, the Crimson Bears aren't taking this weekend's matches lightly. Ketchikan provided Juneau with strong challenges through the regular season, and visiting Sitka nearly upset the Crimson Bears two weeks ago on Senior Night.
"I know Ketchikan and Sitka are gunning for us, but we want it more because they're out for us," Powers said.
The team felt confident after Wednesday's practice went very smoothly.
"Everyone was on with everything," junior Hannah Barril said. "Our hitting, passing, digging, serving - everything was just awesome."
The Crimson Bears face a long journey to get to the region tourney. The Juneau players were due to leave town early today for a flight to Ketchikan, where they will board the M/V Prince of Wales for a three-hour ferry ride west to Hollis. From Hollis, it's a 30-mile drive across Prince of Wales Island to Craig.
The Class 4A tourney opens this afternoon with a match between second-seeded Ketchikan and third-seeded Sitka. The winner of that match will face Juneau at 2:30 p.m. Friday - with the winner advancing to the Class 4A final at 2 p.m. Saturday, and the loser playing an elimination match against today's loser at 6 p.m. Friday.
The winner of the 6 p.m. Friday match earns a spot in Saturday's final. If the loser of Saturday's match has just one loss, there will be an if-necessary match at 6 p.m. Saturday to conclude the double-elimination tourney.
The Class 3A tournament - which sends two teams to the state tournament - also will be played in Craig this weekend. It will feature teams from Haines, Petersburg, Wrangell, Mount Edgecumbe, Craig and Metlakatla. Petersburg won the All-Comers Tournament in Juneau last weekend.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at email@example.com.