Thunder Mountain’s Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale spikes the ball against Juneau-Douglas as her teammates Kyra Jenkins Hayes, left, and Kiley Stevens, right, back her up at JDHS on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale spikes the ball against Juneau-Douglas as her teammates Kyra Jenkins Hayes, left, and Kiley Stevens, right, back her up at JDHS on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain rallies past JDHS

Three out of four games decided by just two points

The Region V volleyball front runners met Friday night before several hundred fans at Juneau-Douglas High School.

Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain were a combined 16-1 against Southeast opponents this season. The crosstown schools both swept the season series against their only other conference opponent, Ketchikan, and were understandably excited to see how they stacked up against each other.

“We were so ready for it,” TMHS senior Kyra Jenkins Hayes said. “We’ve been talking about this all week. We’ve been preparing ourselves all week.”

That preparation showed in Friday’s match, as the Falcons defeated the Crimson Bears 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-9, 25-23) to improve to 8-1 and 5-0 in conference play.

Audrey Welling led the Falcons with 17 kills, 17 digs and eight aces. The senior rarely left the court for the Falcons in the four-set win, and her presence was especially noticeable in the decisive third set, when Thunder Mountain roared to a 15-2 lead with Welling, Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale and Tasi Fenumiai catching fire.

“Our hitters are beasts and we have a pretty deep-hitting bench because we can spread them out from right side and left side and middle,” TMHS coach Julie Herman said. “They hit really well tonight and that was good. I’m very happy with the spread that our setters put up and the way that our hitters delivered. I thought Lani (Eshnaur) in the back row had some pretty sweet digs tonight to save some emergency plays.”

Up until that point, the Falcons played catch up for the entire first game and parts of the second.

“We had really good communication, good momentum,” JDHS senior Skylar Hickok said of the start. “We were just really excited and putting it all out there.”

JDHS sophomore JoJo Griggs posted seven kills and senior Riley Stadt added 19 digs. Griggs was repeatedly challenged at the net by Jenkins Hayes and Lily Smith.

“As the night went on Thunder Mountain’s defense was just better and better,” JDHS coach Brandee Gerke said. “I was so impressed. It was hard for us to find the floor on their side of the court because they were covering it so well.”

The fourth set remained close throughout. Welling initiated a mini 4-0 run to break a 14-14 tie. The Crimson Bears trailed the rest of the game.

JDHS and TMHS played a second time on Saturday evening. The two schools will square off again in JIVE Tournament next weekend and also Oct. 26-27.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.


Juneau-Douglas’ Addie Prussing, left, spikes the ball against Thunder Mountain at JDHS on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas’ Addie Prussing, left, spikes the ball against Thunder Mountain at JDHS on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas’ Riley Stadt, left, and JoJo Griggs attempt to block Thunder Mountain’s Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale at JDHS on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas’ Riley Stadt, left, and JoJo Griggs attempt to block Thunder Mountain’s Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale at JDHS on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in Sports

The Nogahabara Dunes spill into a lake 35 miles west of the village of Huslia as seen from the back seat of a Super Cub piloted by Brad Scotton of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service based in Galena. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Sand dunes a unique Alaska landscape

NOGAHABARA DUNES — From a molded seat of sand dug into the… Continue reading

Fly fishing for salmon in the saltwater might reduce the opportunity to get quick limits, but there’s nothing like it. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Silvers on the fly

A school of a few dozen fish moved slowly through the teal… Continue reading

A common aerial wasp forages on cow parsnip flowers. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Cow parsnip flowers

Cow parsnip is known in our field guides as Heracleum lanatum, although… Continue reading

A roadside daisy displays a fasciated center. (Photo by Deana Barajas)
On the Trails: An odd plant malady, a clever duck, and more

I recently learned about a mysterious, relatively rare affliction of plants called… Continue reading

Juneau’s Jacob Thibodeau (right) takes a selfie with WSOP legend Phil Hellmuth in the background. (Photo provided by Alaska Sports Report)
Juneau’s Jacob Thibodeau and Mario Fata consistently cashing in at World Series of Poker

Anchorage pro Adam Hendrix remains Alaska’s most prominent poker player, but don’t… Continue reading

Heidi Reifenstein reaches Father Brown’s Cross to complete the Goldbelt Tram-Mount Roberts Trail Run on Saturday, setting a new women’s record for the 3½-mile race with a time of 37 minutes and 40 seconds. (Photo by Jeff Gnass)
A mother of a mountain: Heidi Reifenstein sets new women’s record for Goldbelt Tram-Mount Roberts Trail Run

Longtime Juneau resident returns to peak form after taking break from racing while raising kids.

The Nogahabara Sand Dunes in the Koyukuk Wilderness Area west of Koyukuk River. (Keith Ramos / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Alaska Science Forum: Mystery of the glass tool kit in the sand

From space, the Nogahabara Dunes are a splotch of blond sand about… Continue reading

After a morning hike, a satisfying breakfast for under $20 hits the spot. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Food for thought

To my left is a man with a thick British accent who… Continue reading

A bumblebee pollinates the flower of shy maiden, which will turn upward soon afterward. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Flowers, showy and otherwise

The spring and summer flower show at Cowee Meadows (way out on… Continue reading

Athletes compete in a swim event at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center on Sept. 16, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: It’s OK to say an athlete failed at obtaining a goal

During the telecasts of the 2024 Olympic trials commentators stated that around… Continue reading

A brush turkey on a mound the size of a car (Flickr.com photo by Doug Beckers /CC-BY-SA-2.0)
On the Trails: Nest-building by male birds

Most birds build some sort of nest where the eggs are incubated.… Continue reading

Insects like these flies clinging to a tent seem to be in ample supply in Alaska’s boreal forest. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Insects of Alaska forest humming along

Recent long-term studies revealed a three-quarters reduction of insects in parts of… Continue reading