One team was just beginning its season, the other already more than 10 games in, but Friday night’s Juneau-Douglas-Petersburg volleyball matchup still managed to be a closely-contested affair.
JDHS won 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-20) — the seventh time this season they’ve swept an opponent in such fashion — but Petersburg didn’t go down with out a fight. They covered the court well and made the Crimson Bears work to score. But JDHS passed better and senior Shaylin Cesar and sophomore JoJo Griggs steadied the offense in key moments.
“It was a really back-and-forth game,” Cesar said. “They put up some big blocks toward the end that caught us a little bit.”
Griggs made two acrobatic tips that resulted in points during a 7-1 run in the first set that erased a three-point deficit and put JDHS up 14-11. The surge came after a JDHS timeout with Petersburg in front 10-7.
“We just needed to reset,” JDHS coach Brandee Gerke said. “We weren’t resembling anything that we practice or that we do. We just needed to bring it together, have a reset, take a breath.”
Petersburg, a 2A school whose season begins a month later than 4A schools like JDHS, returned just four players from last year’s 21-4 state championship team. Petersburg head coach Jaime Cabral thought his new-look varsity played well, just not well enough to win.
“They’ve only been practicing together for about 10 days total after we split up and got the teams together,” Cabral said. “So very happy to where they’re at right now. A lot of potential.”
Sophomore Kiana Potter’s two aces late in the second set broke a 17-17 tie. After JDHS couldn’t convert on four straight game points, Potter set up Griggs for a powerful kill to the middle of the court to put JDHS up 25-24 before a Cesar ace won the game.
“Her setting has progressed so much this season,” Gerke said of Potter.
After taking four of its five contests last weekend, JDHS is 8-2 in best-of-five-game matches this season. JDHS went 2-0 against Sitka, 1-1 against Mt. Edgecumbe and 1-0 against Barrow last Friday and Saturday. The Crimson Bears now get ready for Thunder Mountain, who is playing against Ketchikan this weekend. The two play at JDHS at 8 p.m. (6:15 p.m. JV) on Friday and at TMHS at 6 p.m. (6:15 p.m. JV) on Saturday.
“We’re really even and we’re excited to test our abilities against them,” Cesar said.