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Lady Kings fall in season opener to JDHS: Ketchikan, Juneau-Douglas battle again on Saturday
Ketchikan High School senior Mady Purcell returns with a bump on Friday during a 3-0 Kayhi loss to Juneau-Douglas High School at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Daily News Sports Editor

Friday’s home opener against the Juneau-Douglas Lady Crimson Bears didn’t go as planned for the Ketchikan High School varsity volleyball team. But at the end of the day, the Lady Kings were able to get the butterflies out of their system.

With such a young squad — with an average age of 15.4 years old throughout Ketchikan’s program — head coach Kevin Johnson knew there would be nerves on the home court, in front of family and friends.

“I think we’ll play better tomorrow,” he said. “Our girls were really nervous.”

Ketchikan fell in three straight sets to the Juneau-Douglas at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium, 25-8, 25-7, 25-14.

Juneau-Douglas had made adjustments since seeing Ketchikan at the Juneau Jamboree over Labor Day Weekend.

“Hands down, (Juneau-Douglas) served the ball incredible tonight,” Johnson said. “And they were just picking us apart.”

Juneau-Douglas jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead in the first set and never looked back, as the Lady Crimson Bears held the Lady Kings to just 15 points through the first two matches.

But midway through the third set, Ketchikan was able to grab ahold of some momentum.

Down 8-1, the Lady Kings’ Lindsay Byron helped her team get possession, with a right-hand jab over the net.

And the Lady Kings went on a run, winning five of the next six points, and climbed within two tallies of the Lady Crimson Bears, 9-7.

Nyah Edenshaw served from the back line for the bulk of those points, and nailed an ace for Ketchikan’s fifth tally.

Byron, along with Jayden Taylor, had a pair of soft touches to secure points. And Mady Purcell had a couple hard right-hand shots that kept volleys alive.

“Mady had a couple nice shots,” Johnson said. “She’s a really great kid.”

But then Juneau-Douglas went on a roll again, taking six of the ensuing eight points, and jumped in front even farther, 15-9.

“As a coach, you run your system; you get your kids ready for a game. And then you go out, and you execute,” Johnson said. “And tonight, at times — minimal times — we could focus; we could concentrate and execute. But you also saw sometimes the youth in our kids, when they made a mistake, they hung their heads. And they don’t realize in the game of volleyball, it’s such an emotionally driven game, that you don’t have time for that.”

The Lady Kings will have to have a short memory, as the two varsity teams meet again at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium Saturday evening. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Younger squads

The Lady Kings’ C squad fell 3-0 to Juneau-Douglas’ C team on Friday. But on the flipside, it was the Lady Kings’ first time playing a game together.

“They’re really young,” Johnson said. “That’s the first time they’ve ever played. So I think (Saturday), it’ll be a big, big difference for them.”

Ketchikan’s JV team dropped 3-1 to Juneau-Douglas, before the start of varsity’s match. But the two teams consistently battled throughout the four sets.

“I think our JV team is pretty evenly matched with theirs,” Johnson said. “So that’s good; that’s a good look to the future.”

Saturday is round two

All three teams will go head-to-head once more on Saturday evening.

The C team match is scheduled to start at 4:40 p.m. in Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium. The JV teams will follow at 5:45 p.m.

Varsity will jump start its match against Juneau-Douglas at 7 p.m. All start times are subject to change, depending on the previous game’s outcome.