Chugiak stunned Juneau-Douglas on Thursday in the opening round of the state volleyball tournament, ousting the Crimson Bears in five see-saw sets.
The Bears handled the Mustangs 25-18, 25-18 in the third-place game of the Service-Dimond Volleyball Tournament late last month, but it wasn't meant to be Thursday. Chugiak pulled the 3-2 upset, winning 25-17, 18-25, 25-16, 19-25 and 17-15 to advance to the semifinals of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Volleyball Championships in Wasilla.
"We didn't start out strong, they got the first game and then it was back and forth, back and forth," JDHS coach Sandi Wagner said. "And then the last game, it was still back and forth.
"The kids played hard and we just mis-handled some balls," she continued. "It wasn't the best game we've ever played, but I have to give them credit because they never gave up and they never quit. They played till the bitter end."
Wagner credited Chugiak for playing a great defensive match and keeping the Bears off balance.
"It wasn't that we weren't on our game. We did some things really well," she explained. "Chugiak's a good team. They have a lot of firepower and they played great defense against us.
"But they played with a lot of heart and they worked hard. We just made some mistkes. They weren't mental mistakes. We just mishandled the ball at times," she continued. "It was a good match. The fans got a lot out of it, but it was hard for our kids."
Juneau-Douglas now faces the task of rebounding in today's consolation round at 9 a.m. against Palmer, who lost to Dimond Thursday night. The winner goes on to the fourth-place game. Wagner said she thinks the team will be reenergized today for the consolation round.
"They're disappointed, but they'll be excited," she said. "They'll come back because they love to play the game. It's hard because you come in with high expectations and when you don't get there, it's always disappointing. But they'll bounce back."