The Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball clawed, scratched and battled its way to a sixth-place finish at the Alaska School Activities Association State Volleyball Championships on Saturday in Anchorage.
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After two more five-game marathon matches on Thursday and Friday - giving the Crimson Bears five five-gamers in a row - JDHS fell to Palmer 25-23, 25-18, 25-21 in the fourth-place game at West Anchorage High School. With the loss, Juneau-Douglas finished sixth in the state.
The Crimson Bears played a very sound defensive games against the Moose as four players recorded 10 or more digs. Hailey Summers, Kristie Ely and Carly Lehnhart recorded 12 digs each while Rachel Peyton added 10 digs in the loss. Kristen Pratt had nine digs for JDHS.
Offensively, Pratt and Nicole Fenumiai recorded nine kills each while Ely chipped in seven kills. Peyton had three kills and Susy Hurtte posted two kills in defeat.
Pratt, Ely and Cortney Wagner also recorded aces.
On Friday, Juneau-Douglas advanced to the fourth-place game by winning what has become their signature style this season - a five-game epic.
The Crimson Bears dug deep once again to defeat Mid Alaska Conference champions West Valley 25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-12.
Facing elimination, JDHS showed maturity and nerve by not giving away points. The Crimson Bears connected on 104 of 110 passes and posted eight aces. Wagner led her team with four aces while Summers, Ely, Peyton and Amanda Leamer had one ace each.
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Ely stepped up with a team-high 18 kills and eight digs while Fenumiai had 15 kills and four digs.
Pratt had a well-balanced game with 11 kills and 11 digs, while Peyton had four kills and Summer continued one kill.
Defensively, Lehnhart posted 23 digs, Wagner had nine digs while Gloria Lumba and Krista Barril had one dig each in the marathon.
It was the JDHS girls fifth five-game match in seven days.
On Thursday, Juneau-Douglas nearly pulled of what would have been the shock of the tournament. The Crimson Bears nearly upset Dimond but fell 20-25, 23-25, 25-16, 25-17, 16-14.
"We worked on teamwork all season and worked on not holding back," Leamer said on Thursday. "You could see that no one was holding back on the court."
JDHS appeared poised to shock the state by quickly taking a two games-to-none lead.
"Dimond struggled with controlling the ball in the beginning," JDHS coach Sandi Wagner said on Thursday. "Then Dimond's outside hitter got hot and fired them up."
The reinvigorated Lynx stormed back to win the next two games before edging the Crimson Bears in the fifth and decisive game.
Coach Wagner said the girls "played with a lot of heart."
"We played all right, but we've been taking it to five every time lately," Summers said Thursday.
Fenumiai was a perfect 21 for 21 passing and had 11 kills while Leamer and Ely had two aces each.
Ely added 13 kills and Pratt had 12 while Lehnhart posted 21 digs.
Editor's note: Courtney Nelsoncontributed to this report. Contactsports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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