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’ 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

Thunder Mountain High School’s volleyball team continues to dominate as they celebrate a pair of victories over the weekend against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. Head coach Julie Herman said the team went into the matches focused and prepared for intense competition.

Members of JDHS’ volleyball team circle up during a home match against TMHS. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Members of JDHS’ volleyball team circle up during a home match against TMHS. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“We just played really cohesively, especially on Friday night. Whenever we play JDHS, we know it’s going to be a really intense matchup, so we just came really focused with specific game strategies of really just wanting to attack their defense with our offense, so that was a focus for us,” Herman said. “We went out really hard and did well on that front, we were happy with the outcome.”

Thunder Mountain won three sets in each of two matches played on Friday and Saturday — one at JDHS and one at TMHS. On Friday, Thunder Mountain scored 25 points in all three sets and Juneau-Douglas scored 16 points in the first set, 10 in the second and 7 in the third. On Saturday, Thunder Mountain once again scored 25 points in all three sets with Juneau-Douglas scoring 20 points in the first set, 14 in the second and 16 in the third.

Moana Tuvaifale serves for TMHS while other volleyball players look on. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Moana Tuvaifale serves for TMHS while other volleyball players look on. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Game standouts were seniors Mallory Welling and Moana Tuvaifale, and juniors Jenna Dobson and Ashlyn Gates, who each played all 6 sets between both days, Herman said. Welling had a combined total of 16 points, 7 aces, 20 pass attempts, 20 kills, 1 assist, 3 blocks and 21 digs. Tuvaifale had a total of 14 points, 5 aces, 7 pass attempts, 9 kills, 29 assists and 19 digs. Gates had 17 points, 9 aces 13 kills and 4 digs, while Gates Dobson came up big with 21 points, 9 aces, 9 pass attempts, 7 kills, and 3 digs. Herman said all four girls were vital in the weekend’s wins.

“Mallory, Ashlyn, and Moana picked up quite a few kills for us and a second strategy for us over the weekend was just to be able to serve really tough. We put a whole focus this season on serving, so Jenna steps back to the line with quite a bit of jump serves and just tried to cause the defense to kind of get out of system and we accomplished that this weekend and felt really good about those goals,” Herman said.

Mallory Welling spikes the ball during a game at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Friday while teammate Ashlyn Gates looks on. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Mallory Welling spikes the ball during a game at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Friday while teammate Ashlyn Gates looks on. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

The Falcons are now 4-0 in the conference and currently sit 4th overall in state after this weekend. While the season continues to go their way and they’re happy with the progress, Herman said they’re remaining focused on the path to regionals and continue to learn and grow from each match while always keeping team goals in mind along the way.

“A couple things that we’re always focused on is speed of offense, when we go up north we always feel like we need to move our block faster and drop our sets so we’re running an attack at a very fast speed,” Herman said. “That’s always a goal of ours, just always speeding everything up and continuing to make sure that our serve receives passes so we can run that offense that we want at a very fast pace, so those are our goals for the next couple weeks as we go into some pretty big games. It’s still early in conference, we’re happy to be 4-0 but it doesn’t really mean things until we get to regionals and that’s when it’s big, so we’re just trying to work on individual skills and team goals and continuing to grow week by week.”

Next up for Thunder Mountain, they’ll be facing off against Ketchikan High School for two away conference games 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 and 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. Herman said that all of the Thunder Mountain volleyball teams remain focused and optimistic for the road that lies ahead.

“Overall, we were really happy with the weekend’s play. Our JV team and C team played well, and our varsity team is just in a really nice place mentally and physically, the kids are focused and excited for what’s to come in the next couple weeks, so we press on and want to keep growing,” Herman said.

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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