The reigning Region V volleyball champions defended home court in their season opening matches Friday and Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School.
Thunder Mountain knocked off Sitka 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-9) Friday and 3-1 (25-21, 25-17, 26-28, 25-16) Saturday, the start of a two month season.
Junior setter Sophia Harvey helped complete the weekend sweep over the nonconference Lady Wolves on Saturday with a team-high 16 kills and 31 assists. Harvey took over setting duties from Marissa Tanuvasa-Tuvafaile, one of seven seniors who graduated from the program last season.
“I’m really excited for this year,” Harvey said. “I think we’re going to have a killer team.”
The Falcons also sported new liberos this season in senior Bridget Gehring and junior Kaylani Tupou.
“I think Bridget has done a great job stepping up in the back row, and I feel like she’s been a really big leader,” Harvey added.
The defensive play from both teams reached a high level in the third set Saturday. Sitka overcame two Thunder Mountain set points to win the third set by a score of 28-26. Sitka coach Zaide Allen credited energy and good coverage for the mini turnaround.
“Just really playing the court well, passing well,” Allen said.
The Falcons regained the momentum in the fourth set on the strength of high-velocity hits from Harvey, Marissa Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale and Lily Smith. Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale and Smith combined for 30 kills in the match. Gehring finished with a team-high 19 digs.
“We’re trying really different things this year — faster hits, different hits — and I think it’s coming along,” Harvey said.
Thunder Mountain hosts its first conference games of the season on Friday and Saturday against Ketchikan. Varsity plays at 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday.
Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé also won its season-opening matches. The Crimson Bears defeated Ketchikan 3-0 (25-8, 25-7, 25-14) Friday, and 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-20) Saturday.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com.