Ashlyn Gates of Thunder Mountain High School deflects the ball past a Craig High School player during the Gold Bracket semi-final game of the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza (JIVE) at Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School on Saturday. TMHS, the top seed in the six-team bracket, lost the title game to Chugiak High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Ashlyn Gates of Thunder Mountain High School deflects the ball past a Craig High School player during the Gold Bracket semi-final game of the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza (JIVE) at Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School on Saturday. TMHS, the top seed in the six-team bracket, lost the title game to Chugiak High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

TMHS falls in ’epic’ JIVE finale to Chugiak

Local No. 1 seed falls short to rally by No. 2 team during two-day regional volleyball tournament

This story has been updated to show JDHS finished fourth, not fifth, among Gold Bracket teams.

Mallory Welling correctly predicted the tournament final would likely come down to her top-seeded Thunder Mountain High School facing second-seeded Chugiak High School. The senior also showed savvy in saying it would come down to who could best overcome the energy “bell curve” toward the late-evening end of the two-day volleyball competition.

Teams face off on the twin courts of the main gym at Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School during the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza on Saturday. A third set of games was plated in the school’s auxiliary gym. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Teams face off on the twin courts of the main gym at Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School during the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza on Saturday. A third set of games was plated in the school’s auxiliary gym. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

“The last couple of games it’s a pretty big fight,” she said during the lunch break on second day of the 11-team Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza at Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School.

TMHS narrowly lost the three-game Gold Bracket title match in what tournament director Dale Bontrager called an “epic finale,” with Chugiak prevailing 22-25, 25-23, 15-13. Welling said her high expectations were because “we’ve played a lot of these teams,” but didn’t think being of the two Juneau teams was too much of a home-court advantage by the time the marathon of matches played out with other teams visiting mostly from other parts of Southeast Alaska.

“None of us are going home,” she said. “Either way we’re both really working hard.”

The tournament featured six Gold Bracket and five Silver Bracket teams playing on three courts at JDHS. Matches started Friday afternoon and continued until after 9 p.m., them resumed less than 12 hours later in a series of games until midday to determine seeing. Bracket play started early in the afternoon and continued well into the evening Saturday.

Welling and TMHS teammate Moana Tuvaifale did get some measure of consolation by being named to the all-tournament team.

Mila Hargrave of Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School hits the ball past a Sitka High School player during the opening game of the Gold Bracket matchups of the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza on Saturday. Hargrave was among three local players named to the 10-member all-tournament team. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Mila Hargrave of Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School hits the ball past a Sitka High School player during the opening game of the Gold Bracket matchups of the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza on Saturday. Hargrave was among three local players named to the 10-member all-tournament team. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Also on that note, Gold Bracket sixth-seeded JDHS won the first game in the consolation bracket against Craig after losing its opening game against Sitka, but then fell short in a rematch against Sitka in the consolation finale. JDHS’ Mila Hargrave was among the eight other players named to the all-tournament team.

Metlakatla was the Silver Bracket winner, defeating Klawock in the finale. Madison Smith, 17, said her tournament-winning team struggled Friday, splitting their games and letting a couple get away at the end.

“When we get near the end of the game we start playing like the other team,” she said. “We lost confidence. It was late at night and we were all tired and hungry.”

Players from visiting teams in particular were often seen laying down — if not necessarily sleeping — in the main gym balcony, classroom where food was also laid out along a table, and other places during interim periods between games.

Students from 11 Alaska high schools take a lunch break Saturday during the two-day marathon of matchups during the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza at Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Students from 11 Alaska high schools take a lunch break Saturday during the two-day marathon of matchups during the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza at Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Yet Smith’s team went out afterward to a nearby pizza place to celebrate a teammate’s birthday, returning to what would remain an exhausting — but ultimately victorious — endurance test on Saturday. Smith, playing in her first JIVE tournament, said being a visiting team did feel like an extra challenge.

“Here’s it’s very different than home because we just have ourselves to cheer on, rather than having our cheerleaders,” she said.

JIVE 2022 final standings

Gold Bracket

1-Chugiak, 2-Thunder Mountain, 3-Sitka, 4-JDHS, 5-Craig, 6-Wrangell

Silver Bracket

1-Metlakatla, 2-Klawock, 3-Ketchikan, 4-Petersburg, 5-Haines

Gwen Nizich, a freshman at Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School, taps the ball over the net on her home court during the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Gwen Nizich, a freshman at Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School, taps the ball over the net on her home court during the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

All-tournament team

Mallory Welling – Thunder Mountain

Moana Tuvaifale – Thunder Mountain

Mila Hargrave – Juneau-Douglas

Taylor Jackson – Ketchikan

Amianya Hansen – Craig

Ava Brady – Sitka

Hayla Trigg – Sitka

Hayden Inman – Chugiak

Ruse Luke – Chugiak

Ryley Kahler – Chugiak

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com

Thunder Mountain High School coach Julie Herman calls instructions to her team during a game Saturday morning to determine seeding in the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza. TMHS earned the top seed, but finished second overall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School coach Julie Herman calls instructions to her team during a game Saturday morning to determine seeding in the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza. TMHS earned the top seed, but finished second overall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

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