Juneau-Douglas ran into a superior Colony team in the first round of the state volleyball tournament on the Thursday, and the Crimson Bears were bested in three games at West Anchorage High School.
Colony swept the first-round matchup of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Volleyball State Championships 25-14, 26-24, 25-20, so now JDHS will turn its focus toward a fouth-place finish.
Coach Sandi Wagner refused to make excuses, but said Colony's edge in experience made a big difference.
"They made little to no mistakes and just kind of waited for us to make mistakes. And we did - we hit some out, we hit some in the net, we missed on a few, and that turned the tide for us," she said. "I hate to lose and the kids hate to lose, but the kids gave it their all and Colony was a better team than us."
Wagner said Colony was strong all the way around, especially at setter, where Northern Lights Conference North Division MVP Siobhan Johnasen places perfect balls for her hitters.
"They had an amazing setter that was very impressive, and she kept them in the game and was able to get the sets up so their hitters could hit," she said. "It was a good match, we played them tough and we didn't roll over.
"The first game was close for a while, but they had one server come back and we got into ... where we couldn't pass, which has happened all season," she continued. "That's when they made the run on us and got five or six points right off the bat, and that took us out of our game."
Wagner said junior middle hitters Sarah Tarver, who had 13 kills and Taylor Larson, who was named Subway Player of the Game for the JDHS side with seven kills, "came out swinging," and laid down some great hits.
Tarver said even though the girls lost, they still had a blast but they just weren't able to match Colony'sintensity.
"It was really exciting, and the first game we did OK," she said. "Then we really picked it up in the second game, and it was really fun. I'm glad we had the chance to play them. They had a really good offense going behind a great setter. All of their hitters kept it (inbounds), and their libero was really agile.
Larson said she was able to score most of her points off kills through the blocks, or wiped out of bounds off the block.
"I hit pretty well and I got used to their blocks, so even if I went up and they were there to block me, I hit it so hard it would ricochet off their hands and go out of bounds (a wipe), or it would go right through the block," she said. "But I got out there and was effective."
Larson said the officiating was a bit different than what the girls are used to in the Southeast.
"We weren't used to the calls that the refs were making. They said we had a lot of carries and double-hits, and the other team didn't get half as many as we did," she said. "I guess we just weren't used to the reffing up here, and Colony has been playing with them all season and we haven't."
The Bears will face Soldotna today at 9 a.m. for the right to advance to the fourth-place match on Saturday.
"We plan on coming back and playing hard," Wagner said.