Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé sophomore Brooke Sanford sends a ball over the South Anchorage defense Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at the Class 4A state volleyball tournament at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Joey Klecka | Peninsula Clarion)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé sophomore Brooke Sanford sends a ball over the South Anchorage defense Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at the Class 4A state volleyball tournament at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Joey Klecka | Peninsula Clarion)

JDHS overwhelmed by South at state tournament

Crimson Bears to play Friday morning in elimation match

Underdogs Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé entered the volleyball state championships on Thursday with an early lead, but swiftly fell to a stronger, more experienced team.

The Crimson Bears lost 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-7) to the South Anchorage High School Wolverines at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.

“They’re young, so this is great experience for them,” JDHS coach Jody Levernier said. “We played some of the bigger schools already this year, and we’ve had our work cut out for us.”

In the first set, the Crimson Bears led early but allowed a 9-2 run by the opponent that set them back six points. JDHS twice cut its deficit to just four points before watching South close out the set on a 7-3 run.

South took control in the second set with a 9-1 start and maintained a tight grip on the match the rest of the way.

“We started missing some serves and just kind of fell apart a little bit,” Levernier said. “So I think it’s just the whole mental game. It’s a big deal up here, and we lost sight of that a little bit.”

JDHS junior Jojo Griggs had six kills, sophomore Brooke Sanford had five kills and senior Addie Prussing had nine digs in the loss. Junior Kiana Potter chipped in three aces and six digs. Griggs, Prussing and Potter are the only Crimson Bears with prior state tournament experience.

Senior outside hitter Sarah Robinson and junior libero Kylie Hurd were the stars for the Wolverines, with Robinson’s hitting power and Hurd’s defense and serving proving too much to handle.

The Wolverines have six past state championships under their belt, claiming the title in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

JDHS went 9-6 in best-of-five matches in the regular season this year, but improved as the season went on. In a huge upset, after losing to crosstown rival Thunder Mountain High School four times during the season, JDHS defeated TMHS last week in a 30-24 tiebreaker to win the regional title. They last captured the regional title in 2017.

It’s been 17 years since JDHS has won the state title, back in 2002. The Crimson Bears last appeared in the event in 2017, when they went 1-2 to finish tied for fifth with Soldotna.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé sophomore Brooke Sanford gets up a shot against South Anchorage, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at the Class 4A state volleyball tournament at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Joey Klecka | Peninsula Clarion)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé sophomore Brooke Sanford gets up a shot against South Anchorage, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at the Class 4A state volleyball tournament at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Joey Klecka | Peninsula Clarion)

What’s next?

JDHS will now face elimination when it plays at 10 a.m. Friday against Palmer, who fell to Bartlett 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-17). South played Bartlett in the quarterfinals later Thursday. Wasilla, who knocked off North Pole 3-0 (25-8, 25-11, 25-16), played the winner of an afternoon match between Dimond and Soldotna later in the night.

“I think we can definitely be more aggressive and want ever single point and not let anything touch the ground tomorrow (Friday),” Griggs said.

South Anchorage also played in their region championship game on Saturday last week but came up short against reigning state champion Dimond in four sets: 25-22, 30-28, 19-25, 25-19.


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


More in Sports

A total of 145 boys from 10 Southeast Alaska high schools dash out from the starting line at the Capital City Invite at A Káx Yaa Andagan Yé (Sandy Beach) on Saturday morning. The 5K race for boys’ and girls’ teams was the region’s largest cross-country race of the season, and final regular season competition before the regional championship in Sitka this weekend. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Many merry after massive muddy meet

Juneau’s cross-country runners and coaches in sunny spirits about chances going into championships

TMHS’ Ashlyn Gates and JDHS’ Mila Hargrave both reach for the ball during the second set of a cross-town volleyball match held at JDHS on Friday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
TMHS wins two cross-town matches

TMHS wins two cross-town matches

A Lucas White (21) block buys Jarrell Williams (1) more room to work during a 49-32 win against Service High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Juneau cooks up a conference title

Huskies are back-to-back Cook Inlet Conference champs after lopsided win.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
From left to right, Liz Perry, president and CEO of Travel Juneau; SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium project manager Sierra Gadaire; High Cadence Triathlon team coach Jamie Bursell; and City and Borough of Juneau Finance Director Jeff Rogers met at Juneau Moose Family Center on Thursday afternoon to share a recap of the Ironman Alaska to a full crowd of members of the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce who joined in at the luncheon.
2023 vision: Officials look at the future of Ironman Alaska

They reviewed what went well and what could change for next time.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire
Two-time national champion and Olympic bronze medalist Gracie Gold talks with the Juneau Empire ahead of her upcoming free speech at Juneau-Douglas High School on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.
Olympian takes time to talk mental health

Bronze medalist, 2-time champ to speak Saturday.

Jarrell Williams (1) and Thomas Baxter (84) celebrate a big play on defense early in Juneau's win over the visiting West Valley Rams. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Huskies get the Rams’ goat under Friday night lights

Juneau remains undefeated on the season.

Most Read