The girls of Thunder Mountain High School volleyball are on fire after two back to back victories over the weekend in Ketchikan against the Lady Kings, bringing their overall record to 13-3-2 and their conference record to a perfect 6-0. Head coach Julie Herman said the weekend was overall full of high energy on both sides of the net which helped amp up the level of play.
“It was just an exciting weekend, Ketchikan had their whole cheering section there cheering and I think just the energy in the gym made my players and Ketchikan high school players just really amped up and it felt pretty high level,” Herman said.
On Friday evening, Thunder Mountain won three straight sets, with the opening set ending 25-19 and game point coming on an ace by junior Ashlyn Gates. The Falcons managed to jump ahead quickly with an 11-0 lead in the second set, which Herman said was largely due to seniors Malory Welling and Moana Tuvifale.
“We were really focusing on running a quick offense and not just the standard setting but different styles of sets and we got to kind of play with that this weekend,” Herman said. “Our middle Malory Welling had a lot of success working with her setter Moana Tuvenfelle on a couple different plays and quicks, so that was fun.”
The final score of the second set was 25-5 with game point coming on a defensive stop. TMHS was dominant throughout their third set, as well, with senior Mercedes Cordero scoring match point on a kill, leaving the final score 25-15. Herman said it was especially nice to be in a position to try new players in different positions, which added to the feel of a team victory.
“We got to bring in some new different defensive players and I got to work deeper into my bench and my lineup and so Elise Duran got to set a little bit, Adella Dihle got to be a backrow defensive specialist, so it’s always nice to get everybody in at different times in the lineup,” Herman said. “I think a lot of kids were feeling team success and individual success.”
On Saturday afternoon, TMHS came out aggressive early in the opening set with high level serving from juniors Jenna Dobson, Jayden Rosenbruch and senior Mallory Welling, who Herman said played well on the outside throughout.
“Jenna Dobson came pretty big, my outsides Jenna and Jayden Rosenbruch both put in great work on the outside putting down some kills and some nice quick attacks, so wanted to give them a little notice of how well they’re playing,” Herman said.
The final score for the opening set was a 25-4 victory with game point coming on an ace by senior Talita Toutailepo, who Herman said played well throughout and was excited to see the longtime varsity player back in action.
“Talita has been a varsity player for three years, she was our defensive specialist pre Serenity (Ault), and so she got to take some reps at that as we’re just trying to keep everybody fresh in different positions so that if we ever needed a lineup change that we’d have one, so like I said, just working deep into the bench and positionally,” Herman said. “So, it was nice to have her back out on the court.”
The second and third set both ended with scores of 25-17 in favor of TMHS to complete the sweep 3-0. Throughout the weekend, strong play at the net by juniors Jayden Rosenbruch, Kaidree Hartman, Ashlyn Gates and senior Mallory Welling helped keep the Ketchikan offense in check. Herman said that winning is one thing, but what really made the trip special was the warm welcoming and treatment received by Ketchikan High School.
“Overall it was a really great weekend, Ketchikan is a great host. When we flew in they fed us breakfast and then after we were done playing they were able to feed us a spaghetti dinner,” Herman said. “It’s just so nice when you’re traveling in Southeast and you just have a nice camaraderie with the other schools, so we just really appreciated their hospitality.”
Thunder Mountain will host Petersburg on Thursday evening before participating in the JIVE (Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza) hosted by Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé this weekend.