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By SPENCER GLEASON
Daily New Sports Editor
Following Friday night’s 3-0 loss to the Juneau-Douglas High School Lady Bears, Ketchikan High School head coach Beth Sandefur told her squad to hit the refresh button for Saturday’s contest. The two teams would be battling on the court again at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium, and Sandefur wanted her Lady Kings to regroup.
Kayhi could only muster a total of 25 points to Juneau-Douglas’ 75 points during Friday night’s competition. The Lady Bears won those three sets, 25-10, 25-10 and 25-5, respectively.
But the Lady Kings took their coaches’ words to heart. And they entered the gym on Saturday ready to play.
The two teams battled point-for-point in the early-going. Juneau-Douglas began to pull away, 7-3, but a Kayhi timeout relieved some nerves. And the Lady Kings started a streak to climb back.
They would outscore the Lady Bears 7-2 over the next few volleys with the help of Zoe Rouleau.
The 4-foot-11 sophmore served from the back line while Kayhi scored four consecutive points to take a 10-9 lead midway through the first set.
But the one-point edge quickly evaporated. Juneau-Douglas would tie the set 10-10. And the two squads would match each other point-for-point again before the Lady Bears pulled away late in the first set. Juneau-Douglas would be the first to 25 points, winning 25-19. And the Lady Bears would eventually win the day’s best-of-five matchup 3-0 for the second day in a row.
“The improvement between last night and tonight was huge,” Sandefur said. “I’m really proud of my girls’ performance. Because to come back against a team that beat you by a significant margin the night before, that can be really hard to come back and have intensity — play hard and be happy on the court. And they definitely did that. They came in ready to play. That first game was just awesome.”
Kayhi’s energy briefly carried over to the second set.
The Lady Kings took an early 4-2 lead. But again, Juneau-Douglas began to overpower Kayhi. And the Lady Bears won the second set 25-12. They would win the third set 25-9.
“The first game — that’s the level that they are capable of playing at,” Sandefur said of her squad. “That’s the level that they need to play at in every game. It’s that energy factor. The first game they kept that energy going;
the second game, they started off and they let Juneau-Douglas run a few points. We got kind of quiet and our energy went down.”
The Lady Kings had firepower. The right hand of junior middle hitter Madison Purcell tallied several pionts for Kayhi. Louise Peterson, Ada Hu and Sarah Palaruan also chipped for serveral points, finding the open spot on the floor.
“We did a lot of work in practice this week on chipping and tipping, and finding that hole in the floor,” Sandefur said. “It’s really encouraging to see the girls responding to it. In practice we’ll say, ‘Here’s a strength that we have. Here’s what I want to see you guys do.’ And they start to do that in games. That’s really exciting to see as a coach.”
The C teams and junior varsity teams played prior to varsity. Kayhi’s C-team lost 3-0, falling 25-5, 25-14 and 25-10.
The Lady Kings JV squad went the distance against the Lady Bears. It was the fourth consecutive time the two JV teams went five sets. The Lady Kings won all four matchups 3-2.
“All four games went to five matches and they won all of them which is good,” Sandefur said of her JV squad. “But one thing that we’re working on with that group is keeping the energy up, so we don’t go to five games. We want to finish it in three.”
Kayhi lost the first set 25-21, but battled back to tie the game 1-1 after a 25-21 victory in the second set. Juneau-Douglas’ JV squad won the third set 25-22. But Kayhi sealed the deal in the fourth and fifth sets, winning 25-14 and 15-12, respectively.
“I’m really excited about that group,” Sandefur said.