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KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Lady Kings’ volleyball squad will jump start its regular season on Friday when the Juneau-Douglas High School Lady Crimson Bears come to town.
Both of Ketchikan High School’s JV teams will compete prior to the varsity game at 7 p.m. in Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium.
The first JV squad’s game will be at 4:40 p.m. And the second JV squad will play at 5:45 p.m.
“We’re a pretty intense group,” Ketchikan head coach Kevin Johnson said after Wednesday’s practice. “Number one, we set the intensity level in practice, as much as we can, without a game-like situation. Because we need those kids to perform when it is a game-like situation.
“But if they can manage a high-intense practice — a fast, intense practice — where somebody is after them,” he continued. “Challenging them, making them think, getting after them to push themselves, then they’ll push through that in a game.”
The Lady Kings are in search of their first win against Juneau-Douglas since the 2015-16 season — Kayhi’s last Region V championship. That season was their first regional title since the 1980s.
“We want to create an atmostphere that breeds success,” Johnson said. “And if kids are competing with each other, and they’re not scared to compete with each other. Then they won’t be scared of competing across the net.”
The Lady Kings are young. All total, the 29 girls within the volleyball program are an average of 15.4 years old.
But Johnson sees that youth as an asset.
“We’ve got a great younger core,” he said. “The future of volleyball looks really good for Ketchikan.”
The two schools also will go head-to-head on Saturday.
“We’ve got some good games coming,” Johnson said. “We’ve got some good moments coming.”
Swim and dive team makes a splash before start of its season
As it turned out, Fairbanks and Ketchikan basically flip-flopped head coaches.
Earlier this summer, swimming coach Patrick Burda accepted the head coaching position with the Midnight Sun Swim Club in Fairbanks, leaving a vacancy in Ketchikan. And that opened a position for Gary Crowe, who had previously coached Midnight Sun’s squad.
Crowe took over the reins for the Ketchikan High School swim and dive team in late August, and provides stability moving forward, as Ketchikan’s Rocky Elerding and Matt Hagan were interim coaches in between Burda leaving and the hiring of Crowe.
Eryn Brooks will remain Ketchikan’s diving coach this season.
Ketchikan will participate in its first swim and dive meet since Crowe jumped on board this weekend, when Kayhi travels to Sitka. The competition will begin on Friday, and continue on Saturday.
Ketchikan’s home meet at the Gateway Aquatic Center will be on Oct. 4-5.