Volleyball players snag 4th in region
The Haines Glacier Bears volleyball team outplayed Metlakatka and Hoonah during last weekend’s Southeast championship tournament, but finished fourth after losses to Klawock and Wrangell.
The Bears started the tournament strong in Wrangell Thursday, sweeping Metlakatla in three straight games in the best-of-five match. Out of the six participating teams, Metlakatla was seeded fifth at the tournament; Haines was seeded fourth.
Fortunes reversed for the Bears Friday morning when they advanced to play number-one seed Klawock and dropped three games in a row.
The loss set the Bears against sixth-seed Hoonah, netting Haines another three-game sweep. The games against Hoonah and Metlakatla, which assistant coach Liana Shull characterized as easy match-ups, allowed some players who don’t normally get a lot of playing time a chance to show their stuff.
A loss to Wrangell Saturday morning dealt the final blow to the Bears in the double-elimination tournament. The Bears won the first game, but Wrangell, with a home-court advantage, took the subsequent three.
“I feel like they didn’t beat us because they’re better than us; they beat us because we made a lot of unforced errors. Service errors, communication errors,” Shull said.
“Volleyball is such a mental game and I think that our girls just kind of got mentally taken out of their game and then couldn’t get it back. Those errors added up quickly and they couldn’t pull their confidence back up,” Shull added.
Final tournament results coincided exactly with seeding. After champion Klawock came Craig, Wrangell, Haines, Metlakatla, and Hoonah.
Junior Libby Jacobson and senior Riley Erekson were voted to the all-conference team, comprised of 12 players from the six teams. Players winning the honor are recognized not only for their play but also for leadership skills and strong character.
The team held its own ceremony on the return ferry on Monday, making awards in categories such as “Most Consistent” and “Biggest Crush.”
Shull said a junior high volleyball program is scheduled to begin after Christmas and will help acquaint younger students with the game so high school freshmen don’t have to learn everything cold.
“We really want to start building feeder programs to start getting players exposed to the game and get them skills before they get to ninth grade, because I think that’s the key to getting a better team in Haines,” Shull said.
Shull said while the exiting seniors – Erekson, Alisha Young, Samantha Lowe, and Karlie Spud – leave big shoes to fill, she’s confident current and incoming players will rise to the occasion.