Crimson Bears Volleyball Battles Through Anchorage Tournament

    The Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé volleyball team is shown in Anchorage. The Crimson Bears host Ketchikan on Saturday, including a senior night. (Photo courtesy JDHS volleyball)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé volleyball team took their final road trip of the regular season into Anchorage last weekend, playing East Anchorage on Thursday and a variety of teams in the Dimond/Service Tournament on Friday and Saturday. They will host the Ketchikan Kings in their final regular season games on Saturday, including a senior night, as they prepare for the Region V Championships in Ketchikan Nov. 5-6.

      “Overall, over the weekend I was happy with getting the experience to play a lot of teams that we normally don’t get to play,” JDHS coach Jody Levernier said. 

      The Crimson Bears defeated East Anchorage 3-1 on Thursday by set scores of 25-20, 25-21, 24-26, and 25-15.

      Senior Brooke Sandford led the team with 21 service attempts and two aces; senior Merry Newman and junior Carlynn Casperson had 18 SA and two A apiece; senior Cosley Bruno 17 SA; sophomore Remi Starks 11 SA; senior Paige Adams eight SA, two A; and junior Ashley Laudert three SA.

      Adams led with 25 digs, Newman 17, Sandford 14, Carlynn Casperson four, sophomores Mila Hargrave and Kiah Yadao three apiece, Bruno two and Laudert one.

      Newman had 13 kills, Sandford nine, Laudert eight, Hargrave and Yadao one apiece.

      “I think we just had a lot of inexperience and that showed this weekend,” Levernier said. “It was hard for us to click consistently. We would have a couple of good plays and we were having a hard time stringing things together. I think that is just experience and being able to dig ourselves out of holes. Five of our girls have never traveled with high school volleyball before. When we click it is amazing and really fun to watch and when we don’t click we struggle. We have to learn how to work past that.”

      The Crimson Bears played better at the West Spiketacular earlier in the season and had a strong showing at the JIVE in their home gym. The team has played a lot of games in a short period of time, according to Levernier.

      “Our girls did really well and they were really tired,” Levernier said. “I think coming off a big weekend like that it was hard to pick ourselves back up.”

      Statistics were not complete for the Dimond / Service Tournament. The Crimson Bears played 15 games.

      On Friday they lost to West Anchorage 19-25, 13-25; defeated Nikiski 25-23, 25-19; lost to Bartlett 14-25, 22-25; lost to Palmer 14-25, 17-25; and split with Kodiak, winning 25-21 and falling 19-25.

     “Bartlett was exciting,” Levernier said. “They are one of the top teams in the state and our girls played pretty well against them.”

      On Saturday the Crimson Bears played in the Bronze Bracket. They lost to West Valley 25-21, 21-25, 13-15; and lost to Homer 17-25, 22-25.

      “The hard part is we played well against really good teams and then struggled against the teams that we really had a good chance of beating if we played our best,” Levernier said. “Then we stepped it up against the harder schools again. We’re just working on being consistent.”

      Partial stats show Newman led with 60 SA and two A; Carlynn Casperson 59 SA; Bruno 46 SA, one A; Sandford 43 SA, one A; Adams 37 SA, two A; 18 SA, two A; Chloe Casperson two SA and Laudert one SA.

      Newman had 138 pass attempts, Adams 131, Sandford 100, Bruno 47, Carlynn Casperson 26, Starks 18, Hargrave 14, Yadao 10, Laudert five and Chloe Casperson one.

      Newman had 34 kills, Sandford 30, Laudert nine, Yadao five, Hargrave three and Adams two. 

      Sandford had 17 block assists, Hargrave 15, Laudert 10, Yadao seven and Carlynn Casperson four. 

      Sandford had 10 blocks, Newman nine, Laudert eight, Hargrave and Yadao two apiece, and Adams one.

      “I had some great conversations with the girls,” Levernier said. “To be able to pull them aside or talk to them after the tournament was over or before the tournament, and just talk about what we are seeing and what is happening and what I need each individual girl to work on. And this group of kids is just really fun because they are pretty knowledgeable about volleyball and it’s fun to have those conversations. Even though they did not play as well as we know they can play, it is fun to have those conversations with them and be able to talk strategy, and be able to talk about what we know they can do and how are we going to get them there. So that is cool they are at that point to have those conversations.”

      The Crimson Bears will play their final two matches of the regular season on Saturday against Ketchikan at JDHS. Varsity game times are 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Senior players will be honored at 5 p.m. They include varsity players Brooke Sandford, Paige Adams, Merry Newman and Cosley Bruno; second team players Clara Don, Ki’yana Ivy, Latisha Brown, Kalila Arreola and Erlyn Penalosa; and manager Ben Iona and statistician Jonathon Lee.

      The Crimson Bears are 4-2 in conference,Thunder Mountain is 4-2 and Ketchikan 0-4. The Region V Tournament is Nov. 5-6 in Ketchikan.

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