The Hoonah High School girls volleyball team couldn't duplicate its state title of 1998 as the Braves lost a 15-2, 7-15, 17-15, 15-8 decision to the Koliganek Huskies on Saturday in the championship game of the Class 1A-2A-3A (West) state tournament at Anchorage's Dimond High School.
Koliganek, a school of 22 students from a village near Dillingham, only had seven girls on its roster and all seven were 5-foot-6 or smaller. Hoonah had 12 players on its roster, but Koliganek's defense was up to the task.
After losing the first game to Koliganek, Hoonah rebounded to win the second game. The third game proved to be decisive as the two teams were tied 11-11, only to have Koliganek go on a short run to take a 14-11 lead.
Hoonah was able to stave off two game-point plays, then went on a four-point run to take a 15-14 lead. But Hoonah also couldn't convert its game-point opportunities and the Huskies rallied to win the game. Koliganek followed the third-game victory by winning the fourth game with little resistance from the emotionally drained Braves.
"We've got to give credit to them -- they're a good, hustling team," Hoonah coach Julie Jackson told the Anchorage Daily News. "They were there no matter how hard we hit it, no matter how hard we served it."
Hoonah reached the final by winning two matches on Friday. The Braves opened the tournament by beating Tok 15-9, 16-14, 4-15, 12-15, 15-10, then rallied to defeat Nome-Beltz 4-15, 15-5, 15-12, 15-9 in the semifinals.
Koliganek opened the tournament by sweeping Region V-Class 2A runner-up Gustavus 15-11, 15-4, 15-11, then swept Barrow 16-14, 15-10, 18-16 in the semifinals. Gustavus was eliminated from the tournament later on Friday after the Foxes dropped a 15-5, 15-0, 15-2 decision to Seldovia-English.
Trissa Barros and Stacie Skaflestad of Hoonah were name to the all-tournament team for the Class 1A-2A-3A (West) state tourney.
In the mixed-six state tournament that also took place at Dimond High School, the Angoon Eagles finished fifth as the first Southeast team to compete in the coed tournament for Class 1A-2A schools.
Point Hope-Tikigaq claimed the championship with a 15-5, 15-8, 4-15, 12-15, 15-10 victory over the Galena Hawks on Saturday.
In round-robin action on Friday, Angoon posted a 1-2 record as the Eagles beat Kwethluk 11-15, 16-14, 15-13, 14-16, 15-13, but dropped a 15-3, 15-6, 13-15, 10-15, 15-1 decision to Point Hope and was swept by Golovin 15-11, 17-15, 15-10. On Saturday, Angoon claimed a 15-9, 15-8, 3-15, 15-5 victory over Russian Mission in the fifth-place match.
Angoon won the team sportsmanship award and Angela Kearns was named to the he all-tourney team for the mixed-six state tournament.