If Ketchikan learned one thing this weekend in Sitka, it's not to poke a sleeping bear.
After a 23-25, 25-15, 25-18, 22-25, 14-16 loss on Friday to Ketchikan in the first match of the double-elimination Region V Volleyball Tournament at Mt. Edgecumbe High School, the Crimson Bears responded by sweeping the Kings in the next match before winning the championship in four sets.
A refocused JDHS rolled in Match 2, 25-15, 25-10, 25-10, and won going away in Match 3, 25-15, 23-25, 25-18, 25-11.
Coach Sandi Wagner said her team reacted well to a difficult situation.
"Ketchikan played great. They were fired up and ready to play while we came in a little unfocused," she said. "We just tightened up and got scared and nervous, and Ketchikan took advantage of that and took us out of our game."
Wagner said the girls played to their capability after an uncharacteristic first-match letdown against Ketchikan.
"We had to regroup after a loss and we did," she said. "I was very pleased with how the kids refocused and came together.
"We played at a much higher level (Saturday) than we did (Friday)."
Senior Ruthanne Yadao said the early defeat to their rivals, their first loss to Ketchikan all season, was a wake-up call.
"We weren't playing our game," she said. "They were really pumped up and we didn't see it coming."
She said JDHS responded with more inspired play on Saturday.
"We pulled it together. It was fun," she said. "We were crying our hearts out and laughing."
Taylor Larson said following the scare against the Kings, there was a sense of relief amongst her teammates, and she expects big things at the state tournament.
"I think we're going to do well," she said. "We played well at the Anchorage tournament against the other teams, and it showed us that we can compete with those teams.
"We're going to be pretty confident going up there."
She said while they are confident in their chances in Anchorage, there are some on-court problems that must be addressed.
"It's some of the things we've always had problems with, like talking on the court, staying positive and not thinking about our mistakes," she said. "We actually pulled together and did really well (Saturday), so if we continue to do that I think we'll go far."
The Bears continue their postseason march toward the state title beginning Thursday in Anchorage.
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