After a trek to Metlakatla for a regional seeding tournament Oct. 25-26, the Haines High School volleyball team is playing much closer to home.
Last weekend, the Glacier Bears were in Juneau for a small schools tournament. The weekend of Nov. 16, the squad will make the trip to Skagway to face Panther and Whitehorse squads. Haines will close out the month by hosting a tournament Nov. 22-23 that will help determine rankings for the regional competition.
At Metlakatla, Haines faced five regional foes and tallied a 1-4 record.
“Our main focus was just improving our play when the ball’s on our side, and not really worrying about the other team,” said coach Liana Shull. “There’s so much time for improvement between now and the end of the season, so that’s really what we’re focusing on is how we learn from our mistakes and not dwell on them.”
The Glacier Bears topped Skagway in three games and lost to Craig in three.
Haines took both Klawock and Metlakatla to a fourth game before losing those contests. Metlakatla held on for a 26-24 win in the decisive game of that match.
Lastly, the Glacier Bears came up just short against Wrangell in five games, with the Wolves clinching the win, 15-7, in the fifth.
Shull said “the cool thing about those tournaments is you get tons of repetition.” She noted senior Coral Bauer has been a force at outside hitter. “Her level of play has improved so much, in terms of consistency.”
Junior Celia Bower, a team newcomer, has picked up the sport quickly, Shull said. “She’s one of our top hitters, passers and all-around players; it’s so fun to have her on the team. She really adds a lot to the team’s mental dynamics in a positive way, but also in her skills and ability to learn the game so fast.”
Freshmen Bozhi Sebens, Jordan Stigen and Olivia Wing saw some varsity playing time in Metlakatla, said coach Judy Erekson.
Junior varsity and varsity squads then headed to Juneau for a tournament, where, after several games, teams were ranked and placed in one of three brackets, Gold, Silver or Bronze.
“It’s a lot of good practice, especially since our JV has never really played,” Erekson said.
The Glacier Bears varsity was seeded second in the Silver Bracket. Haines then lost to a Ketchikan squad in a tight match, narrowly missing out on the bracket’s title game against champion Wrangell.
Erekson said the team has struggled with serving at crucial times, so practices have included “pressure serves” with running and push-ups as penalties for misses.
“The improvement just from going to the tournament and coming back to practice this week is incredible,” she said.