Staying true to the course it has set all season, the Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball team quickly dispatched Ketchikan on Friday and Sitka on Saturday to win the Region V-Class 4A tournament at Mount Edgecumbe High School in Sitka.
With the victories, the Crimson Bears won the region title, earned a trip to the Class 4A state tournament later this week in Anchorage and maintained their perfect record for the season.
"It was really great to get this out of the way, to take care of business and focus on state," Juneau senior setter Callan Janowiec said by phone after Saturday's victory. "We're really excited about state. We'd like it to start tomorrow."
Juneau, now 17-0 in best-three-out-of-five-game matches and 91-5 in all games this season, earned a bye for the opening match of the region tourney. Ketchikan defeated Sitka in that contest 15-9, 15-12, 15-5, sending the King Salmon into Friday's match against the Crimson Bears. Juneau sailed to victory in that contest 15-2, 15-0, 15-5.
After falling to Juneau on Friday afternoon, the Kings faced Sitka again in a losers' bracket match Friday night. The Wolves fared better the second time around, eliminating Ketchikan from the tournament in an epic match 11-15, 10-15, 15-12, 15-8, 18-16, which earned the Kings a spot in the championship round against Juneau.
In Saturday's championship match, Juneau swept Sitka 15-2, 15-0, 15-4 to finish the tourney undefeated and win the title.
Senior middle hitter Amy Neussl served 10 straight points for Juneau during the second game Saturday, and for the tourney she picked up four aces, 13 digs, 18 kills and three solo blocks.
Janowiec went a perfect 22-for-22 serving with four aces, and had 12 digs. Senior outside hitter Kelly Baxter was 34-for-35 serving with seven aces, and collected 10 digs and 14 kills. Senior defensive specialist Nikki Bennett was 17-of-17 serving with one ace, and junior outside hitter Julie Heard had 24 kills and one solo block.
Juneau co-coach Sandi Wagner said the team continues to play offense and defense in the consistent manner that has sustained it so far this season.
"They're reading the ball very well ... and letting the other team make mistakes," she said.
Juneau dominated the All-Region team, which was named at the tourney. Janowiec, Neussl, Baxter and Heard made the team, along with Sitka's Sidney Wyman and Ketchikan's Anne Elliott.
With the Region V-Class 4A title in hand, the Crimson Bears are not going to take it easy. Juneau is focused on winning the state tournament - so focused that shortly after winning the region title, players were already talking about the state tourney and the things they need to work on in practice this week.
"To be continued on Thursday" at state, Neussl said of the Crimson Bears' successful season to date. "We're so excited for it."
In the Region V-Class 3A tournament, also held Friday and Saturday at Mount Edgecumbe, Petersburg came out of the losers' bracket to sweep consecutive games from Mount Edgecumbe and win the title.
Both teams earned berths at the Class 3A state tournament in Anchorage later this week.
Petersburg defeated Mount Edgecumbe in the first championship match 15-13, 15-11, 8-15, 15-5. Since both teams had one loss, an "if-necessary" match was required to determine the region champion. Petersburg won that match 15-6, 11-15, 15-13, 9-15, 15-10.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Region V-Class 3A/4A Volleyball Tournament Awards
All-Region Team (3A)
Haines: Drew Fossman.
Wrangell: Ashley Pempeck.
Petersburg: Britni Birchell, Anna McMurren, Amanda Versteeg.
Metlakatla: Aja Bryant.
Mount Edgecumbe: Meredith Akaran, Jolene Chikigak, Sonta Hamilton.
Craig: Heather Douville, Jill May, Jerian Kampnich.
All-Region Team (4A)
Juneau-Douglas: Amy Neussl, Callan Janowiec, Julie Heard, Kelly Baxter.
Sitka: Sidney Wyman.
Ketchikan: Anne Elliott.
Passing Award (3A/4A)
Heather Douville, Craig (29 points)
Serving Champion (3A/4A)
Larissa Otness, Ketchikan (15 points)
Great Sport Award
Juneau-Douglas: Nikki Bennett, Ryia Waldern.
Ketchikan: Christine Leiferman, Terra DeLong.
Sitka: Cara Palmer, Billie Sue Riggs.
Metlakatla: Aja Bryant, Christine Brendible.
Wrangell: Brooke Williams, Ashley Pempeck.
Petersburg: Anna McMurren, Tesa Bergmann.
Haines: Keely Falcon, Shelly Sloper.
Craig: Heather Douville, Carly May.
Mount Edgecumbe: Sonta Hamilton, Ella Morris.
Juneau-Douglas: Kelly Baxter, Nikki Bennett, Callan Janowiec, Amy Neussl, Danielle Ryder, Ryia Waldern, Mary Wilcock.
Wrangell: Carley Seimars, Jessica Lindley, Dena Kautz, Kayleigh Hartwig.
Petersburg: Brandy Cole, Janna Machalek, Alice Williams.
Mount Edgecumbe: Meredith Akaran, Jolene Chikigak, Ella Morris, Sonta Hamilton, Alexis Moore, Roxanne Peter, Dora Hughes.
Craig: Jerian Kampnich, Heather Douville, Anjuli Haydu, Carly May.
Haines: Shelly Sloper, Keely Falcon.
Ketchikan: Anne Elliott.
Sitka: Alian Brown, Lexi Fish, Roxanne Korthuis, Cara Palmer, Kelly Revard, Sydney Wyman, Billie Sue Riggs.