The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team is heading to the state tournament, following Saturday's victory in the Southeast Region Tournament in Wrangell.
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The Crimson Bears were nearly eliminated but came back strong in the fourth and fifth games to win the tournament. The Bears started the double-elimination tournament with a 25-13 win in the first game, then narrowly lost the next two games 25-23 before evening-up the series with a 25-19 win in the fourth. The fifth and final game was a nail-biter with the Bears coming up with a decisive 15-11victory.
Assistant coach Pat Gorman said all the games were hard fought. Rachelle Albay had a perfect night, serving 31 for 31 with 4 aces and 18 digs. Amber Walker also had 4 aces and served a near perfect 20 out of 21 with 13 digs and 17 kills. Walker said her strategy for winning State is to "shake off mistakes" and play a super high energy game. Walker added that Lindsey Kato had some key blocks in the fourth game that helped the Bears tie it up.
Senior Sarah Christenson, the team's 'go to gal', racked up 70 attacks, 33 kills, 13 digs, 2 assists and 1 solo.
Sammy Roguska, another strong server who went 15 for 16 with 4 aces and had 15 digs, thinks a win at State will depend on keeping an upbeat attitude and "letting things go."
Tara Hansen fired 16 perfect passes and racked up 11 digs as a defensive specialist. Hansen said she feels wonderful about their accomplishments, believing good cheer can spread through a team and a positive attitude is the key to winning State.
Middle blocker Rachelle Miller, who lead with 3 block assists and 1 solo block, feels good about the team and is excited to be going to state for the first time. Miller, who also had 6 kills, is going to stay positive and work hard to get the win.
Carly Lehnhart, playing the new Libero position loves to play defense, "I focus on keeping the ball off the floor." Lehnhart said winning the fifth game was a great way to go into the finals because it was an "excellent, high intensity game and no one was down on anyone."
The Bears only gave up one game against Ketchikan Friday. They won the first game 25-19, game two 25-20, game three they were defeated 23-25 and game four they came up with 25-19 win to advance.
The state championships will be held November 9th through the 11th in Anchorage.