ANCHORAGE - The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears volleyball team dug deep to pull out a win against the Kenai Central Kardinals in the quarterfinal round of the 3A/4A State Volleyball Championships on Thursday at West Anchorage High School.
The Crimson Bears defeated Kenai 25-18, 20-25, 25-22, 25-22.
"We played our game," JDHS setter Torie Powers said. "We fell into a hole our second game, but our first game was amazing."
JDHS takes on South Anchorage tonight at 7:15 p.m. in the semifinal round.
"Hopefully we will be where we want to be and need to be tomorrow," Powers said.
The Crimson Bears started strong in the first game, as they ran to an early lead. Juneau-Douglas co-coach Sandi Wagner said the Bears played "relaxed and confident."
In the second game, JDHS used its momentum to race to a 10-7 lead. Kenai battled back with strong serving, and the Kardinals connected on three aces in a 10-0 run to take a 17-10 lead.
"They're a good serving team," Wagner said of Kenai.
The Kardinals' serving frustrated the Crimson Bears. JDHS rallied to cut Kenai's lead to 21-19, but the Kardinals held on to tie the match at 1-1.
"It was panic ball," Wagner said of the second game.
The third match proved to be a back-and-forth affair.
Kenai's Samantha Calderwood rode a five-point service rally as the Kardinals rushed out to a 15-9 lead. Juneau-Douglas made a quick recovery, as the Southeast Conference champions rallied to take a 20-19 lead.
The Crimson Bears then received a scare. Kenai knotted the game at 20, as Katie Monagle struck her head on the court. The senior, who sang the national anthem before the game, recovered to dig out Kenai's next serve as Juneau-Douglas regained its composure.
The Crimson Bears took the third game, 25-22.
Facing a one-game deficit, the Kardinals jumped to a 12-4 lead to start the fourth game.
Juneau-Douglas responded behind Rochele Rodman's serving. She scored seven straight service points, and the Crimson Bears cut Kenai's lead to 12-11. The Crimson Bears overtook the Kardinals at 18-18, before vanquishing Kenai 25-22
"I was really proud of us that we stayed up the whole game, mentally," said Juneau's Sarah Christianson, who received Most Valuable Player honors for her 13-kill, 23-dig performance.
Powers smashed four aces and connected on 24-of-25 of her serves for the Bears. Lesley Kalbrener added 18 kills, and Jillian Hahnlen had 15. Alycia Cox finished with 21 digs and an ace. Marita Rodriguez was a perfect 18-for-18 with her serves.
"The kids got off track for a while," JDHS co-coach Dale Bontrager said. "But then they managed to get themselves on track."