ANCHORAGE -- Passing was key for the Petersburg Vikings during the Class 3A state high school volleyball tournament at West Anchorage High School.
When Petersburg made its passes, the Vikings scored points. But when the passes didn't connect, Petersburg's offense broke down and the Vikings struggled to keep their opponents from scoring.
In Friday's elimination match with Cordova, Petersburg's passing game failed early but the Vikings started finding each other as the match progressed and Petersburg ended up pulling out a 2-15, 15-13, 17-15, 15-10 victory over the Wolverines.
However in Saturday's fourth-sixth place match with Heritage Christian School, Petersburg had some brief moments where the passing game was on. But those moments didn't last long as Petersburg's passing game broke down for long stretches of time as the Eagles claimed a 15-5, 15-7, 15-12 victory.
The only other Southeast team in the Class 3A state tournament was the Craig Panthers, and they were eliminated on Friday by Heritage Christian, 6-15, 15-11, 15-12, 16-14.
Valdez swept Seward 15-2, 15-7, 15-6 for the Class 3A championship on Saturday night, while Nikiski won the third-fifth place match 15-2, 15-2, 15-4.
In Saturday's fourth-sixth place match, Petersburg jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first game. But the Vikings began to struggle with their passing about the time Heritage Christian middle blocker Lindsey Hanks started dominating action at the net, and the Eagles went on a 14-0 run to close out the first game.
In the second game, Petersburg seemed to have corrected some of its passing problems as the teams swapped points and were tied at 7-7. But then the problems returned and Heritage Christian used Petersburg's passing woes for an 8-0 run to close out the game.
The passing problems were still around as Heritage Christian jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the third game. Petersburg closed the gap to 8-5, but fell behind 12-5 when both teams started subbing deep into their benches. Petersburg rallied to tie the game at 12-12 before Heritage Christian closed out the game with a couple of aces.
Anna McMurren led Petersburg with six kills, six digs and two aces.
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.