Volleyball squad launches season
The Haines Glacier Bear volleyball season started at the Juneau Jive volleyball tournament Oct. 5-6, where the girls finished fifth against seven squads from larger schools.
Highlights included close matches against powerhouse Juneau Douglas and consecutive, two-point losses to West Anchorage.
Coach Judy Erekson called the tournament a big confidence booster for the Bears, who competed without a full, varsity squad. “We took a game each from Sitka and West Valley (Fairbanks). I’d say we surprised the competition.”
Senior Alisha Young earned all-tournament honors and Haines players were awarded all-academic honors. Young said the team is rebuilding. “I’m not sure how it will play out. We just hope for the best, and individually I just hope to play consistently and keep improving.”
The following week the team traveled to Craig to face the Panthers, and scrimmaged against defending 2A-division champions Klawock. The Bears lost their matches against what Erekson described as “the best two teams in the region.”
Coach Liana Shull said the lag from a two-day ferry ride kept girls from playing to their potential against Craig in the first of two games. “The second day and night we played better against both Craig and Klawock,” she said.
In the first of two tournaments used for seeding at the regional championship, the Bears traveled to Petersburg for matches Oct. 19-20 against other Southeast 2A squads.
Without setter Libby Jacobson, the Bears lost to Craig and Klawock three times, defeated Metlakatla and Hoonah, and lost three of five to Wrangell. The regional championship is Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Wrangell.
The Bears play next in a Klawock tournament Nov. 8-10 that also will help set regional championship seeding. They play Craig at home Nov. 16-17.
“With a full team, I think we can beat anyone in the region,” Erekson said. “The toughest teams will be Craig and Klawock. Right now we are in the middle of the pack.”
Losing six players to graduation last year, the team is a mix of veterans and new players.
“This can create some inconsistent performances, but quick growth as the less experienced players are having to learn the game at a fast rate,” Shull said.
Leading the Bears are senior hitters Young and Riley Erekson, and junior Jacobson. Senior Samantha Lowe, juniors Jamie Messerschmidt, Adalee Lari, and Coral Bauer, and sophomore Megan Tuohy also are returning.
Rookies include seniors Ashley Hupp and Karlie Spud and freshmen Corinna Hill, Kayley Swinton and Destinee Cowart.
The junior varsity squad this year hasn’t played much due to a lack of JV squads on other teams.
Haines is playing in the 2A division for the first time this year.