ANCHORAGE - As Colony prepared for the state volleyball tournament this week, the Knights had absolutely no idea of what to expect from their first-round opponent, the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears.
With little to know about Juneau-Douglas, the Southeast Conference champions, the Knights simply focused on their own team.
And it worked out.
Colony scored a 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-20) sweep of the Crimson Bears during the first round of the ASAA/First National Bank 4A State Volleyball Championships at West Anchorage High School on Thursday afternoon.
"We had no clue what we were coming into," Colony senior Sierra Hodgson said after the win. "But it was a good thing. It forced us to come out and play any type of team that came out."
And that team was a Juneau-Douglas squad that featured height up front and an activeback line.
Coincidently, it was the same formula Colony used to win the match and move into the semifinals to play Chugiak today at 3:45 p.m. at West High School.
Hodgson and fellow senior Katie Gonski, who registered 18 and 17 digs, respectively, led a stellar defensive effort by the Knights.
Hodgson and Gonski made a number of point-saving plays in the back row to consistently keep play alive. Hodgson said it was simply a matter of effort.
While the likes of Hodgson and Gonski led Colony in back, junior middle hitters Shellina Irwin and Tess Forstner posted nine kills each to lead the Knights up front.
"They did really well, especially Tess," Hodgson said. "She had probably her best (match)."
Colony used a pair of six-point runs to win the first set, and capped the pivotal second game with a 5-0 run to win the match and earn the right to play the Mustangs, who swept Soldotna 3-0 (25-7, 25-16, 25-14) in thequarterfinals.
Juneau led 9-6 early in the first, but Colony took the lead with the first of its 6-0 runs in the set. Hodgson recorded a service ace to bring the Knights within a point, and Forstner spiked a ball just over the net to tie the score at 9-all. Senior Brittany Brown slipped an attack just inside the back line to give the Knights a10-9 lead.
Brown recorded consecutive kills later in the set to cap another six-point stretch.
In the second game, the Bears were actually serving for game point with the 24-21 lead before Forstner knocked a hard shot off the fingertips of a Juneau middle blocker to spark a Colony rally. Brown followed with a similar kill, and setter Siobhan Johansen tipped the ball over the net to tie the score at 24-24.
A Juneau-Douglas net violation and hitting error gave the Knights the win.
Colony never trailed in the third game, and used a four-point run to break a 15-15 tie.
Contact Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at email@example.com.