ANCHORAGE Instead of the usual two-and-out and early elimination, the two Southeast representatives stuck around a bit longer at this years Class 3A state volleyball tournament.
The Craig Panthers won their first state tournament match since the 2000 season, and matched their best finish in the state tourney fifth place after dropping a 25-11, 22-25, 29-27, 25-21 decision to the Monroe Catholic Rams in Saturdays third-fifth place match at West Anchorage High School. Craigs previous best finish at state was fifth place in 2000. Katrina Peavey was the lone Panther named to the all-tournament team.
The Petersburg Vikings won their first match since taking second place in the 1998 season the best state tournament finish ever recorded by a Southeast Class 3A team and finished in sixth place after dropping a 25-19, 25-21, 25-18 decision to the Nikiski Bulldogs in the fourth-sixth place match. Mandee Versteeg was Petersburgs lone representative on the all-tourney team. The Vikings also won the team academic award with a 3.88 GPA.
For the third year in a row, the Valdez Buccaneers beat the Cordova Wolverines in the championship match, this time 25-18, 25-27, 25-19, 25-19. Valdez won its fourth straight title and seventh overall since the state went to size classifications in the 1985-86 school year. Cordova has won once, in 1995.
In Saturdays third-fifth place match, Craig sleepwalked through the first game with a lot of serving and passing errors. But the Panthers picked things up over the last three games.
I think in the first game we were a little nervous, but after that they could have gone either way, said Craig senior Brianne Goheen, who was Craigs player of the match.
We could have done better, but were happy with how we did, Craig senior Jill May said.
The third game was about as even as it gets, with the largest lead by either team being three points when Monroe took an 11-8 advantage. Both teams had chances to win the game, with Craig having game point at 27-26 and Monroe having game point at 24-23, 25-24 and 28-27.
CC Malemute was Monroes player of the match.
The Panthers had chances Friday to reach their first state championship match, but they let the first game get away after having a big lead in a 26-24, 17-25, 25-22, 25-19 semifinal loss to Cordova. Craig led 11-3 and 19-12 in the first game, but Cordova rallied and the Wolverines only leads of the game came at 23-22, 25-24 and 26-24.
The last game was close, with Craig leading by a couple of points most of the way until Cordova tied it at 17 and went on to win.
Petersburg finishes sixth
The Vikings won their first state tournament match since 1998, despite losing half their team after the region tournament last weekend.
Petersburg was left with six players and a manager early this week when six players including three seniors and two starters decided they didnt want to join the rest of the Vikings at the state tournament. The manager was given a uniform so she could give the Vikings a substitute, and Petersburg won Fridays consolation match 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 over Grace Christian School. On Saturday, Nikiski swept the Vikings in the fourth-sixth place match, but the Petersburg players were happy with their overall performance.
We felt really good, said Rikki Versteeg, who was Petersburgs player of the match on Saturday. Our attitude was better.
We felt let down when half the team didnt come, added Mandee Versteeg, who was Petersburgs player of the match on Friday. We took our manager. We looked up in the stands and our parents were really smiling.
In Fridays match, the first game was close with no team leading by more than four points. But Petersburg trailed before rallying for nine straight points when Mandee Versteeg was serving. Petersburg led most of the third game and held off a late rally.
Our teamwork was really good, said Kellie Luczak, who was Petersburgs player of the match on Thursday. They didnt want to miss school or raise the money, at least those were the excuses.
Besides the two Versteeg sisters and Luczak, the only Petersburg players left were Camie Pederson, Jill McIntosh, Sarah Aiken and manager Sonja Ewing, who did see a lot of action during the tournament.
The girls are real happy with the way they played, Petersburg coach Bev Siercks said. That was the best part, being able to pull the team together and win a match. Everybody played hard and we knew we were in it in every match. We played just as well against Valdez as any of the other teams.
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASS 3A STATE
Results from the Class 3A state volleyball tournament held Thursday through Saturday at West Anchorage High School.
Saturdays match scores
Championship match Valdez def. Cordova, 25-18, 25-27, 25-19, 25-19.
Third-fifth place match Monroe Catholic def. Craig, 25-11, 22-25, 29-27, 25-21.
Fourth-sixth place match Nikiski def. Petersburg, 25-19, 25-21, 25-18.
Fridays match scores
Semifinal matches Cordova def. Craig, 26-24, 17-25, 25-22, 25-19; Valdez def. Monroe Catholic, 25-17, 25-22, 25-15.
Consolation matches Nikiski def. Seward, 25-19, 25-12, 25-21; Petersburg def. Grace Christian School, 25-20, 25-20, 25-20.
Thursdays match scores
First-round matches Cordova def. Nikiski,
25-23, 25-27, 25-21, 25-22; Craig def. Seward,
25-19, 25-12, 26-24; Valdez def. Petersburg, 25-16, 25-12, 25-17; Monroe Catholic def. Grace Christian School, 25-23, 25-16, 25-20.
Team academic award Petersburg Vikings, 3.88 team GPA.
Team sportsmanship award Seward Seahawks.
All-tournament team Hannah Thompson, Nikiski; Katrina Peavey, Craig; Brooke Wegner, Valdez; Leah Stepovich, Monroe Catholic; Meagan Newirth, Cordova; Georgie Heaverly, Nikiski; Whitney Stewart, Valdez; Lara Loomis, Seward; Mandee Versteeg, Petersburg; CC Malemute, Monroe Catholic; Kristina Maxwell, Cordova; Angie Dahlstrom, Valdez.
Southeast Good Sport team members (two selected by coaches for each team) Katrina Nelson and Katrina Peavey, Craig; Jill McIntosh and Rikki Versteeg, Petersburg.