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SKAGWAY - Hoonah volleyball coach Julie Jackson greeted her senior star, Amy Wright, with a big hug after her team knocked off Klawock in three straight games for the Region V-Class 2A title Tuesday at Skagway High School.
"Four in a row!" Jackson said.
You won't find many seniors anywhere who can claim region championships in all four years of high school, and Wright knows she's part of something special.
"This is the best team I've ever been on," Wright, the team's only senior, said after the 25-13, 25-10 and 25-9 sweep of Klawock. "I'm excited to go back up there and play (at state tourney)."
"And win," added a teammate.
Wright wasn't ready to guarantee a Class 1A-2A-3A (West) state championship Dec. 4-6 at Anchroage's Dimond High School, but she said the Braves are on a mission.
"I am sick of taking second place (at state) three years in a row," she added.
This Braves team is loaded with talent and has no weak spots, Wright said.
Wright, 6-footer Andria Skafelstad, Cassandra Peters, and Kristi Skaflestad are four solid hitters, and setters Candy Keown and Jessica Skaflestad make few mistakes.
There also is not a bad server among them, for good reason.
With the new rally scoring in high school this year, a bad serve will give the other team a point. To emphasize the importance of getting serves in, Jackson told her players they would sit a rotation if they make a bad serve.
"We had one missed serve in three games," Jackson said. "That's pretty good, and I think we missed just two for the whole tournament."
Hoonah beat Klawock for the second time in two days. On Monday night the Braves prevailed 25-6, 25-11 and 25-8 to advance to the championship game.
On Tuesday morning, Klawock faced Skagway, winner of a five-game thriller over Kake in Monday night's finale. Down two games to one, Skagway came back to beat Kake 21-25, 26-24, 18-25, 25-17, 16-14 before a packed house.
Klawock had to deal with the partisan crowd Tuesday morning, and won the first two games 25-17 and 25-18. But Skagway took command in the third game for a 25-18 win, and led 21-18 in the fourth game before letting it slip away. Behind the strong serving of Kayleigh Ryno and Danielle Slather, the Chieftains took the final game 25-23 to take the match.
With little rest, the Chieftains ran up against the Braves 20 minutes later in the championship round. They stayed with Hoonah in the first game, but Wright served for four straight points to break loose an 8-8 tie, and big hits by Andria Skaflestad lifted the Braves to the 25-13 win.
In the second game, Hoonah opened up a 9-0 lead behind the serving of Keown, who also served the game's final four points for a 25-10 win.
Klawock got some big hits from Ryno to open the third game, but Hoonah freshman Jessica Skaflestad matched them, and strong team serving again carried the Braves to a 25-9 win, and the championship.
REGION TOURNAMENT AWARDS
Awards from the Region V-Class 2A volleyball tournament held Monday and Tuesday at Skagway High School. Don Hather, a retired teacher from Skagway who coached Hoonah's Julie Jackson for four years in Hoonah in the 1970s, gave out the trophies.
All-conference team - Hoonah: Amy Wright, Andria Skaflestad, Candy Keown; Klawock: Sharon Webb, Kayleigh Ryno, Alyssa Meece; Skagway: Savannah Ames, Audrey Neitzer; Kake: Danielle Williams, Kelly Kadake.
Serving contest champion - Lakrista Ekis, Kake.
Passing contest champion - Audrey Neitzer, Skagway.
Good sport team - Kake: Kelly Kadake, Tiffany Berkley; Hoonah: Amy Wright, Kristi Skaflestad; Klawock: Sharon Webb, Danielle Sather; Skagway: Audrey Neitzer, Tiffanie Potter.
Team sportsmanship - Kake Thunderbirds.
Runner-up - Klawock Chieftains (qualifies for state tournament).
Champion - Hoonah Braves (qualifies for state tournament).