Despite a disappointing, unusually error-riddled performance Friday, the Haines Glacier Bears volleyball team rallied Saturday to give the Craig Panthers a fight.
Both days of competition featured best-of-five matches. The Panthers swept the Bears Friday, beating them in three consecutive games, but barely managed a Saturday victory after the Bears lost in the fifth and final round.
Assistant coach Liana Shull said she didn’t want to make excuses for her team’s dismal Friday performance. Unforced errors and lack of ball control contributed to Craig’s unchecked dominance, Shull said.
“The first night our team really didn’t play to our level. We made a lot of mistakes in terms of when the ball was on our side we weren’t able to execute or make plays. We pretty much beat ourselves on Friday night,” Shull said.
Friday still had a few standout moments, including five points scored by senior middle hitter Samantha Lowe during the first match. Lowe was the team’s most consistent player Friday, she said.
The Bears were able to bounce back Saturday, losing the first two matches but coming back to win in the next two games to tie the competition, 2-2. The Panthers ultimately came out on top, taking the fifth match 15-10.
“We played a lot better. We had a nice crowd to play in front of and the girls were making a lot less errors and we were really able to move the ball around,” Shull said.
Strong overall showings by senior co-captains Riley Erekson and Alisha Young boosted the Bears Saturday, with Erekson playing both back and front rows.
Coral Bauer and Jamie Messerschmidt dominated the back row, while Adalee Lari and Karlie Spud did a solid job on the service line.
This was the last home game of their high school careers for four seniors – Erekson, Young, Spud, and Lowe – who played over the weekend. Shull said Erekson and Young in particular, who have played all four years, have been instrumental in raising the level of volleyball for the Haines program since they’ve been a part of it.
Shull and the team now have their sights set on the Southeast championship tournament in Wrangell Nov. 30-Dec. 1 where they will have to best the Panthers if they want a shot at state. Shull said she is ramping up practices this week in anticipation of the upcoming tournament.
“We have the advantage going in because we really don’t have anything to lose and we’ve played them a couple times this year and know what they look like. And we’re hungry to win,” Shull said.