Juneau-Douglas: Yadaat.at Kale junior Jojo Griggs hits the ball over the net while playing against Ketchikan at JDHS on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas: Yadaat.at Kale junior Jojo Griggs hits the ball over the net while playing against Ketchikan at JDHS on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Dual setter-spiker Griggs helps JDHS sweep Kayhi

Crimson Bears take season series from Lady Kings

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé volleyball team asks a lot from setter Jojo Griggs.

In addition to helping run the offense with junior Kiana Potter, the 5-foot-9 junior is also one of the team’s strongest hitters, and often the player responsible for spiking the ball over the net. On Saturday night against Southeast Conference foe Ketchikan, Griggs had both facets of her game going, leading the Crimson Bears to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-15) victory on their home court.

JDHS has won all four of its matches over Kayhi this season in straight sets. On Friday against the Lady Kings, the Crimson Bears rolled to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-18) victory.

The Crimson Bears are now 4-2 in the Southeast Conference, having swept the four-game season series from Ketchikan and dropped two matches at the beginning of the month to crosstown rival Thunder Mountain.

“One of our main focuses was being aggressive and also being smarter about our plays,” Griggs said. “So not just swinging away, but placing it and putting the ball on the floor.”

“I thought they passed really well — actually last night and tonight,” JDHS coach Jody Levernier said Saturday. “That was one of the big things we’ve been working on all season is our passing and I think this weekend they passed pretty well. So that was helpful. When we pass well, we can run our plays and it makes the game a little bit more fun.”

Many of the JDHS’ passes in the first set Saturday were hit in the direction of senior middle blocker Addie Prussing. The Crimson Bears went on a 10-1 run in the opening set thanks in part to Prussing’s strong play in the middle.

“Right now with both our middle (blockers), we’re doing quick sets, so they’re shorter sets,” Griggs said. “So the defense has to set up quicker and react faster.”

The Crimson Bears led 11-9 in the second set when they went on another 10-1 run. Like in the first set, the Lady Kings struggled to consistently get the ball to the intended player.

“Our biggest problems that we struggle with is not keeping our energy up, we just kind of go in a slump,” Kayhi senior Maddy Purcell said. “We know what is happening, but for some reason since the beginning of the season — it was worse at the beginning of the season — we struggle to keep our energy up and be positive no matter what.”

Thunder Mountain was also undefeated in their matches this weekend. The Falcons visited Sitka and played in five matches over three days, including three on Saturday.

TMHS defeated Mt. Edgecumbe 3-1 on Thursday and Sitka 3-0 on Friday. On Saturday, the Falcons reeled off several more wins, taking down Lathrop 3-0, Sitka 3-2 and Mt. Edgecumbe 3-1.

“We played relaxed; we were out there laughing and playing some really hard volleyball,” TMHS coach Julie Herman said.

JDHS and TMHS will close out their respective regular seasons together at the start of next month. Both Juneau teams play next weekend in the Dimond/Service Tournament in Anchorage.

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