The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team wasn't running on all cylinders at Friday's and Saturday's Region V-Class 4A Tournament in Petersburg, but the Crimson Bears still motored through the competition to repeat as region champs and earn a trip to the state tourney in Anchorage later this week.
"We didn't play the best we've ever played, but we played well enough to accomplish the goal of winning Southeast," Juneau coach Sandi Wagner said.
"We pulled it out, we got through it, and now we're heading to state," said senior Karla Dunivin, one of four Crimson Bears named to the Class 4A All-Region Team.
The Crimson Bears beat a resilient Ketchikan Kings squad, 23-25, 25-13, 25-18, 25-11, in Saturday's championship match to win the Southeast crown.
On Friday, top-seeded Juneau swept Kayhi, 25-15, 30-28, 25-18, to open tourney play and reach the final. Ketchikan eliminated Sitka from the tournament with wins on Thursday and Friday night.
Petersburg repeated as the Region V-Class 3A champs with a four-set win over Craig. Scores were not available for the Class 3A matches.
Consistent serving was a strong point for Juneau all weekend, and Dunivin - who won the tourney's serving competition - led the way Saturday with a 20-for-20 performance with five aces. Sophomore Torie Powers was 19-for-19 with an ace, senior Julie Heard finished 18-for-20 with three aces and sophomore Hannah Barril was 17-for-18 with two aces.
Ketchikan put up a good fight, taking the first game before Juneau pulled together to take the next three.
"The first game they were very good defensively, and we struggled offensively to find some holes," Wagner said. "We had to pick it up a little bit, and we did."
"They played mad defense this weekend," sophomore Lesley Kalbrener said of Ketchikan. "It definitely wasn't a free ride."
Kalbrener, who had 10 kills Saturday, was another of Juneau's All-Region honorees; Heard and junior Amber Johnson were the others. Heard made the team for the second straight year.
Heard had 20 digs and 12 kills in Saturday's match, Dunivin added 14 kills, Johnson had 14 digs, Powers finished with 13 digs and Barril had 11 digs. Sophomore Sara Manning had three block assists.
Ketchikan stayed close in Friday's match - particularly in the second game - but Juneau stayed together for a sweep.
Once again, the Crimson Bears prospered with strong serving. Barril went 19-for-20 with two aces, Johnson was 15-for-16 with two aces, Heard was 10-for-10 with an ace and Dunivin was 8-for-10 with three aces.
Heard had 11 digs and 16 kills, Dunivin had 10 digs and seven kills, Barril added 10 digs and Kalbrener had nine kills. Sophomore Jillian Hahnlen and senior Heather Dillon had three block assists each.
The Crimson Bears (13-5 this season in best-three-of-five matches) will go into this weekend's Class 4A state tournament at West Anchorage High School as the defending state champions, but they are a very different team than last year's squad. Heard and Dunivin were the only returning varsity players this season.
Wagner said the team will work on serving tough - in addition to consistently - in this week's practices.
The Crimson Bears said they feel ready to make the season's final trip north.
"We need to keep up the enthusiasm, and come together on the things we've been working on all season," sophomore Alycia Cox said.
"Other than (minor adjustments), we're ready," Heard said. "We've got to get our schoolwork done and get rested."
Photos from the region tourney will run in the Empire later this week.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REGION V-CLASS 3A/4A VOLLEYBALL AWARDS
All-Region Team (4A)
Juneau-Douglas - Karla Dunivin, Julie Heard, Amber Johnson, Lesley Kalbrener
Ketchikan - Larissa Otness
Sitka - Natasha Robidou
All-Region Team (3A)
Haines - Kim Ferrin
Craig - Brianne Goheen, Jill May, Stacia Miller
Metlakatla - Aja Bryant
Mount Edgecumbe - Bunky Keyes
Petersburg - Britni Birchell, Anna McMurren, Amanda Versteeg, Rikki Versteeg
Wrangell - Laura McCay, Ashley Pempeck
Great Sport Award
Juneau-Douglas - Karla Dunivin, Amber Johnson
Ketchikan - Monica Blanchard, Joy Anne Cameros
Sitka - Natasha Robidou, Michelle Wamack
Haines - Rigel Falvey, Ari Hartman
Craig - Katrina Peavey, Ashley Ackerman
Metlakatla - Aja Bryant, Amber Dundas
Mount Edgecumbe - Bunky Keyes, Jolene Jackinsky
Petersburg - Jill McIntosh, Sara Mooney
Wrangell - Laura McCay, Ashley Pempek
Seniors with GPA of 3.0 or above
Juneau-Douglas - Karla Dunivin, Julie Heard
Ketchikan - Monica Blanchard, Shannon Charlton, Elyse Erickson
Sitka - Emily Gluth, Alana Peterson, Abby Sparrowgrove, Michelle Wamack
Mount Edgecumbe - Desiree Merculief, Cassie Myomick
Petersburg - Tessa Bergman, Britni Birchell, Anna McMurren, Shannon Caulum
Wrangell - Ashley Pempeck, Brook Williams
Tessa Bergman, Petersburg
Karla Dunivin, Juneau-Douglas (won tiebreaker session over Ketchikan's Larissa Otness)