Juneau-Douglas’ Paige Adams, center, celebrates a point with her teammates against Thunder Mountain during the Region V Volleyball Tournament at Thunder Mountain High School on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. JDHS won 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-20). (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau-Douglas’ Paige Adams, center, celebrates a point with her teammates against Thunder Mountain during the Region V Volleyball Tournament at Thunder Mountain High School on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. JDHS won 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-20). (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

‘We just wanted to prove everybody wrong’: JDHS upsets Thunder Mountain for Region V title

Next stop: state.

After a one-year hiatus, the Juneau-Douglas: Yadaat.at Kalé volleyball team will return to the state tournament — a trip they’ve made over 20 times — after upsetting reigning region champion Thunder Mountain High School.

The Crimson Bears defeated the Falcons 30-24 in the Region V 4A championship tiebreaker match on Saturday night at TMHS.

JDHS defeated their crosstown rivals in that single-set match immediately following a 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 17-25, 25-19) loss to the Falcons. However, thanks to their semifinals win on Friday over TMHS, which snapped a six-game losing streak, the Crimson Bears were given a second shot at the championship in the form of the 30-point tiebreaker.

Senior Addie Prussing had two aces and junior Jojo Griggs had six kills, including the championship-clinching point. Prussing had seven aces, and Griggs had 13 kills in the prior match.

“All season we’ve been saying that we’re going to peak right at the perfect time and did,” Prussing said. “We pushed and we played hard.”

[See photos of the action here]

Tasi Fenumiai, Avery Kreischer and Lily Smith had three kills apiece for the Falcons. In the first match, Fenumiai had 12 kills, junior Sophia Harvey had nine kills and senior Bridget Gehring had 22 digs.

“We did our job today — we didn’t win — but we did our job,” TMHS coach Julie Herman said. “We wanted that first match and we wanted them to have to beat us well, in 30, and we took them high into the 20s on that last set, and so I feel really good about that game. I really do.”

After TMHS tied the match at 10-10, Prussing, Griggs, Brooke Sanford, Merry Newman and Jenae Pusich went to work, each recording kills in 9-3 run.

Sanford, a sophomore, said Friday’s semifinal win was a huge confidence booster. TMHS swept the season series between the two sides and twice upended the Crimson Bears in the JIVE Tournament last month.

“We just knew that this was the only time that mattered, this was the only game that mattered,” Sanford said. “So we knew we had to put everything we had into the last game. So I think that helped a lot knowing that this was it, this was our last game against them.”

The Crimson Bears were without Griggs for the big win on Friday and much of the last month after an upper-body muscle strain. JDHS relied heavily on junior Kiana Potter in Griggs’ absence. Potter became the Crimson Bears’ go-to setter, a role she seemed to embrace.

“Kiana really stepped up her game the last couple of weeks when we needed her to,” JDHS coach Jody Levernier said. “She did a phenomenal job. She really, really played well the last couple weeks, the best I’ve seen her play all season.”

Potter said it was daunting having several teammates go down with injuries.

“And then last night we played Thunder Mountain and winning that game in three (sets), that was what we needed to figure out that we can do this, we got this,” Potter said. “And then Jojo comes back and has the game of her life. So we had it in us all along, and we just wanted to prove everybody wrong who didn’t believe in us.”

The state tournament starts Thursday at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. The Crimson Bears last appeared in the event two years ago, when they went 1-2 to finish fifth.

2019 Region V Volleyball Tournament

Thunder Mountain High School


Quarterfinals: JDHS def. Ketchikan 3-1 (25-8, 25-14, 14-25, 25-15)


Semifinals: JDHS def. TMHS 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-20)

Loser-out semifinals: TMHS def. Ketchikan 3-0 (25-8, 25-14, 25-13)


Championship*: TMHS def. JDHS 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 17-25, 25-19)

Championship tiebreaker: JDHS def. TMHS 30-24

*A JDHS loss forces a 30-point tiebreaker for the Region V championship.

All-Conference Team

Jojo Griggs (JDHS), Sophia Harvey (TMHS), Addie Prussing (JDHS), Mady Purcell (Ketchikan), Bridget Gehring (TMHS), Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale (TMHS).


Region V Volleyball 4A Champions (1973-2019)

1973 — Mt. Edgecumbe; 1974 — Mt. Edgecumbe; 1975 — Ketchikan; 1976 —Ketchikan; 1977 — Hoonah; 1978 — Hoonah; 1979— Sitka; 1980 — Juneau-Douglas; 1981 —Sitka; 1982 — Sitka; 1983 — Ketchikan; 1984 — Juneau-Douglas; 1985 — Juneau-Douglas; 1986 — Sitka; 1987 — Sitka; 1988 — Juneau-Douglas; 1989 — Juneau-Douglas; 1990 — Juneau-Douglas; 1991 — Juneau-Douglas; 1992 — Juneau-Douglas; 1993 — Sitka; 1994 — Sitka; 1995 — Juneau-Douglas; 1996 — Juneau-Douglas; 1997 — Juneau-Douglas; 1998 — Juneau-Douglas; 1999 — Juneau-Douglas; 2000 — Juneau-Douglas; 2002 — Juneau-Douglas; 2001 —Juneau-Douglas; 2003 — Juneau-Douglas; 2004 — Juneau-Douglas; 2005 — Juneau-Douglas; 2006 — Juneau-Douglas; 2007 — Juneau-Douglas; 2008 — Juneau-Douglas; 2009 — Juneau-Douglas; 2010 — Juneau-Douglas; 2011 — Juneau-Douglas; 2012 — Juneau-Douglas; 2013 — Juneau-Douglas; 2014 — Juneau-Douglas; 2015 — Ketchikan; 2016 — Juneau-Douglas; 2017 — Juneau-Douglas; 2018 — Thunder Mountain; 2019 — Juneau-Douglas.

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.

More in Sports

A total of 145 boys from 10 Southeast Alaska high schools dash out from the starting line at the Capital City Invite at A Káx Yaa Andagan Yé (Sandy Beach) on Saturday morning. The 5K race for boys’ and girls’ teams was the region’s largest cross-country race of the season, and final regular season competition before the regional championship in Sitka this weekend. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Many merry after massive muddy meet

Juneau’s cross-country runners and coaches in sunny spirits about chances going into championships

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

A Lucas White (21) block buys Jarrell Williams (1) more room to work during a 49-32 win against Service High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Juneau cooks up a conference title

Huskies are back-to-back Cook Inlet Conference champs after lopsided win.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
From left to right, Liz Perry, president and CEO of Travel Juneau; SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium project manager Sierra Gadaire; High Cadence Triathlon team coach Jamie Bursell; and City and Borough of Juneau Finance Director Jeff Rogers met at Juneau Moose Family Center on Thursday afternoon to share a recap of the Ironman Alaska to a full crowd of members of the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce who joined in at the luncheon.
2023 vision: Officials look at the future of Ironman Alaska

They reviewed what went well and what could change for next time.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire
Two-time national champion and Olympic bronze medalist Gracie Gold talks with the Juneau Empire ahead of her upcoming free speech at Juneau-Douglas High School on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.
Olympian takes time to talk mental health

Bronze medalist, 2-time champ to speak Saturday.

Jarrell Williams (1) and Thomas Baxter (84) celebrate a big play on defense early in Juneau's win over the visiting West Valley Rams. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Huskies get the Rams’ goat under Friday night lights

Juneau remains undefeated on the season.

Most Read