Ketchikan High School’s Bella Westfall-Zink attempts to block Thunder Mountain High School’s Ashlyn Gates during Friday’s match in Ketchikan, which Thunder Mountain won 3-0. TMHS also swept Ketchikan 3-0 on Saturday night. (Christopher Mullen / Ketchikan Daily News)

Ketchikan High School’s Bella Westfall-Zink attempts to block Thunder Mountain High School’s Ashlyn Gates during Friday’s match in Ketchikan, which Thunder Mountain won 3-0. TMHS also swept Ketchikan 3-0 on Saturday night. (Christopher Mullen / Ketchikan Daily News)

TMHS volleyball sweeps Ketchikan during two-night road trip, remains undefeated

Last year’s conference champs haven’t lost a set this season, boost record to 4-0

The wins didn’t come as easily this past weekend, but Thunder Mountain High School’s volleyball team remains undefeated — and has yet to lose a set — following two nights of road victories at Ketchikan High School to elevate their record to 4-0.

Furthermore, three of those four games have been away from TMHS’ home court. They’ll be home for their next two games, against North Pole at 6:30 p.m. Friday and a rematch against Ketchikan at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Falcons, last year’s Region V champions, have achieved 3-0 set sweeps in every game this year, mostly by dominant margins during their first three games. But Saturday’s matchup in Ketchikan saw TMHS prevail by scores of 25-22, 25-20 and 25-23, by far the closest trio of sets against the team this year.

Thunder Mountain High School’s Jayden Rosenbruch hits the ball during their 3-0 victory over Ketchikan High School on Friday night in Ketchikan. (Christopher Mullen / Ketchikan Daily News)

Thunder Mountain High School’s Jayden Rosenbruch hits the ball during their 3-0 victory over Ketchikan High School on Friday night in Ketchikan. (Christopher Mullen / Ketchikan Daily News)

TMHS coach Julie Herman said while getting two more conference wins was rewarding, the most significant achievement was being able to rally against a Ketchikan team that was able to take early leads in many of the matches, especially on Saturday.

“It was like three- and four-point deficits,” she said. “And to be able to come back on top and to show composure, and just the mental toughness it takes to be in that place, and still hit to win and come out back on top it shows a lot of character. For me and the girls that was a big part of our weekend, knowing that we can win coming from behind.”

TMHS swept Ketchikan by scores of 25-22, 25-19 and 25-12 on Friday, showing dominance in the final set after Ketchikan managed early leads during the first two sets. The Falcons opened their season the previous week by defeating Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé in home and away games by an average of nearly 12 points a set.

This year’s varsity team for TMHS, while featuring nine seniors, nonetheless lost a number of top players from last year’s regional title squad. This year’s statistical leaders through the first four games, according to MaxPreps, are senior Ashlyn Gates with 30 kills (2.5 kills set) and 14 aces (1.2 aces per set), senior Kaidree Hartman with 47 assists, senior Jayden Rosenbruch with a .303 hitting percentage, senior Jenna Dobson with five blocks, and senior Serenity Ault with 5.5 digs per set.

When asked about standout players so far this season, Herman named all of those players, along with some other notable moments from the past weekend.

“Zoey Moore (a senior) is putting up some great numbers — in the second set of Saturday night’s game she served a final ace for the win. And just so that was pretty exciting to see her,” Herman said.

Herman, despite the team’s strong start, isn’t ready yet to compare this year’s squad to the one that finished fourth overall in the state last year.

“There’s a lot of competition in Anchorage, (so) I can answer that better in a couple more weeks when we go up north,” she said. “But I think that this year Region V’s volleyball conference is very strong. And I’m glad to have stronger teams and stronger competition. It just doesn’t matter who comes out of Southeast as the Region V champ — if we’ve got good volleyball here we’ll get a better Southeast show at state.”

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

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