Thunder Mountain High School wins its third consecutive JIVE Championship. Back row (Left to right): Coach Julie Herman, Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale, Tasi Fenumiai, Kyra Jenkins Hayes, Audrey Welling, Alex Murray, Amy Schoonover, Sophia Harvey, Bridget Gehring, Hannah Harvey. Front row: Kiley Stevens, Leilani Eshnaur, Marissa Tanuvasa-Tuivaifale. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School wins its third consecutive JIVE Championship. Back row (Left to right): Coach Julie Herman, Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale, Tasi Fenumiai, Kyra Jenkins Hayes, Audrey Welling, Alex Murray, Amy Schoonover, Sophia Harvey, Bridget Gehring, Hannah Harvey. Front row: Kiley Stevens, Leilani Eshnaur, Marissa Tanuvasa-Tuivaifale. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Falcons fly away with JIVE title

JDHS finishes in fourth in two-day tourney

Thunder Mountain High School volleyball coach Julie Herman can always tell when her team is in the zone.

“You can just see it on their faces,” the first-year head coach said after a recent win over Juneau-Douglas. “That level of play is just this beautiful moment. It’s like where time stops and they’re just playing volleyball.”

In the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza championship game Saturday night at Juneau-Douglas High School, the Falcons were having one of those moments. After a come-from-behind win in the first set over Craig, the tournament Cinderella who upset Mt. Edgecumbe in the semifinals, Thunder Mountain dominated in the second set, claiming a 25-23, 25-16 victory and their third consecutive JIVE championship.

“That was earned, that was not given,” Herman said. “That was a hard weekend of volleyball.”

Audrey Welling, Kyra Jenkins Hayes, Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale and Sophia Harvey each had three or more kills in the win. Craig also had multiple weapons on offense, including Ashley Hansen and Kennedy Stumpf, but not enough to successfully counter the Falcons. It was the Panthers’ first-ever appearance in the championship game.

“I think we underestimated ourselves,” Stumpf said. “But when we finally believed in ourselves, then it came together. It all came from our love for the game and our hope for our team. “

The championship match marked the 73rd and 74th sets of volleyball played at the tournament, which began with 10 teams Friday afternoon. Each team contested nine games in pool play before moving on to the elimination round Saturday afternoon.

JDHS (8-1), Mt. Edgecumbe (7-2), Thunder Mountain (7-2), Craig (6-3), Petersburg (5-4) and Sitka (5-4) were seeded into the Gold Bracket while Klawock (3-6), Wrangell (3-6), Ketchikan (1-8) and Haines (0-9) were seeded into the Silver Bracket.

Thunder Mountain defeated Sitka in the quarterfinals before taking down JDHS 18-25, 25-16, 16-14 in an intense battle.

JDHS had lost its previous seven sets to TMHS heading into the match.

JDHS looked every bit the No. 1 seed in the first set against Thunder Mountain. The Crimson Bears were in position on seemingly every play, leaving the Falcons looking somewhat stunned. Thunder Mountain watched two Kiana Potter serves all the way to the court. The Falcons quickly found themselves in a 14-5 hole from which they could not recover.

“We watched Thunder Mountain and Sitka play each other and we just saw how much motion they had,” JDHS coach Brandee Gerke said. “So we got out there and I said, ‘Hey, this is the kind of motion that we need to have.’ So we got out there and they moved like that.”

The Falcons stormed back to win the second set before the JDHS defense made a sterling return in the third set. Sensing her team’s momentum slipping away, Herman called two timeouts in the first five minutes of the game. It didn’t slow down the Crimson Bears the first time — JDHS increased its 7-3 lead to 10-5 — but it did work the second time.

The Falcons tied the game at 12 and Tasi Fenumiai scored the go-ahead and match point with two thunderous hits from the left side of the net.

“It felt so good,” said Fenumiai, who had a team-high 14 kills. “I was kind of in the dumps because I kept missing and then that happened and I was like, ‘Oh my god.’”

JDHS rebounded with a win over Petersburg before falling to Mt. Edgecumbe in the third-place game.

“It’s definitely rewarding once you get up and bring yourself back up from a loss,” JDHS sophomore JoJo Griggs said.

“Today we brought our cheering game,” she added. “That was good and that helps us keep the energy up and keep it positive.”

Both Juneau teams are on the road next weekend. The Falcons fly south for games against Sitka and Mt. Edgecumbe. JDHS will go north to Anchorage and play in the Dimond-Service Tournament.

2018 JIVE All-Tournament Team

Shaylin Cesar, Juneau‐Douglas

Miah Dumag, Sitka

Helen Decker, Wrangell

Haliegh Ebbighauser, Craig

Marissa Haddock, Haines

Martha Johnson, Petersburg

Mady Purcell, Kayhi

Malory Smith‐Turpin, Klawock

Haley Sweet‐Cushing, Mt. Edgecumbe

Audrey Welling, Thunder Mountain


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.


Gabi Griggs dives for the ball against Ketchikan during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Gabi Griggs dives for the ball against Ketchikan during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Lilyan Smith controls the ball against Juneau-Douglas’ Shaylin Cesar, center, and Addie Prussing during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Lilyan Smith controls the ball against Juneau-Douglas’ Shaylin Cesar, center, and Addie Prussing during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Lilyan Smith spikes the ball against Juneau-Douglas’ JoJo Griggs during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.(Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Lilyan Smith spikes the ball against Juneau-Douglas’ JoJo Griggs during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.(Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas’ Shaylin Cesar dives for the ball against Craig during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas’ Shaylin Cesar dives for the ball against Craig during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas’ JoJo Griggs, left, and Shaylin Cesar, right, look to block a shot by Craig’s Ashley Hansen during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas’ JoJo Griggs, left, and Shaylin Cesar, right, look to block a shot by Craig’s Ashley Hansen during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Kyra Jenkins Hayes, right, and Mount Edgecumbe’s Haley Sweet-Cushing compete for control of the ball during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Kyra Jenkins Hayes, right, and Mount Edgecumbe’s Haley Sweet-Cushing compete for control of the ball during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Audrey Welling, right, places the ball over Mount Edgecumbe’s Leticia Skaflestad, center, and Haley Sweet-Cushing during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Audrey Welling, right, places the ball over Mount Edgecumbe’s Leticia Skaflestad, center, and Haley Sweet-Cushing during the JIVE Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in Home

Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, speaks on the Senate floor on March 6. Gray-Jackson was the sponsor of a bill to make Juneteenth a state holiday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
On Juneteenth, Gov. Dunleavy weighs adding a new legal holiday for Alaska

If the governor signs recently passed bill, Juneteenth would be observed as a state holiday in 2025.

An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska faces consequences as federal education funding equity dispute continues

State officials offered feds a $300,000 compromise instead of $17 million adjustment.

A view of Angoon from a floatplane on Friday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
Thayer Creek Hydro project fulfills ‘dream of the elders’

Angoon hydropower groundbreaking comes after four decades of effort, seeks to stabilize future costs

A Juneau Police Department officer talks on a radio in a patrol car. Officials said JPD’s communications system, which had an end-of-life date in 2014, needs to be replaced to provide improvements such as full radio coverage within the city and borough limits. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Voters may be asked to OK $22.75M in bonds to upgrade emergency communications, wastewater treatment

Juneau Assembly will consider two proposed measures, take public comments, at July 1 meeting.

Construction on Egan Drive on Tuesday evening leaves one lane open in each direction. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Upgrades at Fred Meyer intersection overnight Tuesday and Wednesday to affect traffic

One lane on Egan in each direction open 7-9 p.m.; northbound traffic diverted 9 p.m.-5 a.m.

Observers from the U.S. Department of Justice examine the accessibility of a polling place in Juneau’s Mendenhall Valley during the Aug. 16, 2022, primary election. The Justice Department concluded that the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to properly accommodate voters with disabilities. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Disabled Alaskans encountered barriers in recent elections, Justice Department investigation finds

Alaska failed to accommodate people with disabilities who were trying to cast… Continue reading

Independent Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during a campaign rally at Legends Event Center on Dec. 20, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)
Want to run for President in Alaska? You’ll need a few thousand friends.

On Friday, supporters of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. turned in more than… Continue reading

Customers gather in the seating area of an expanded food court area on Franklin Street on Friday. Reconstruction work that began last fall was recently completed for the facility scheduled to be open between May and September. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Franklin Street facelift: Sites of former Elks Lodge, Glory Hall debut new eateries, housing

Expanded food court opens at former lodge site; donut shop and low-cost apartments replace shelter.

Juneau’s PJ Foy, shown winning the 2023 100 yard butterfly in 48.27 for Thunder Mountain High School during the ASAA state championships at the Dimond Park Aquatics Center on Nov. 4, 2023, qualified for the 2024 June Olympic Team Trials by swimming a 100 long course meters butterfly in a personal best 53.44 on March 16, 2024, at the Speedo Sectionals in Federal Way, Washington. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire file photo)
Alaskans secure spots at 2024 Olympics; Juneau swimmer PJ Foy will try for his spot on Friday

TMHS graduate seeking to qualify in 100-meter butterfly at U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Most Read