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KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Before the Ketchikan High School volleyball team set foot on the court at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium on Saturday night, head coach Kevin Johnson called for a team practice.
The Saturday morning walk-through gave the Lady Kings a chance to catch their breath after dropping three straight sets to Juneau-Douglas High School the night before.
And the Lady Kings used that practice to hit the reset button.
Although Saturday night’s final score was the same — 3-0 in favor of the Lady Crimson Bears — the Lady Kings were in constant battle-mode.
“We finally started playing as a team,” Mady Purcell said after Saturday’s game against Juneau-Douglas. “You could tell the court was a lot louder today. You could hear us talking and stuff. ... We’re getting it back over the net, and that was really what pushed us to competing again.”
Communication was the main topic during Saturday morning’s walk-through. Johnson had his team sit in a circle, and each player went around saying something they would change.
“Communication was the biggest thing,” Purcell said.
Ketchikan dropped the three sets 25-16, 25-15 and 25-20, but the Lady Kings edged ahead momentarily in both the first and third sets.
“The kids, I was really proud of them,” Johnson said. “We talked about coming together, not pulling apart; we talked about accepting our responsibilites to each other, as far as our team. And we talked about defining our roles.”
Ketchikan moved players around before Saturday’s game.
The Lady Kings bumped Jayden Taylor to the setter position, and moved middle hitters Lindsay Byron, Alison Thomas and Jenae Rhoads around, giving Ketchikan a new look.
“Every single time we play, we see a little bit more into the future on how we’re going to be getting better,” Purcell said.
Ketchikan’s C team lost 3-0 to Juneau-Douglas’ C squad, but the improvement overnight was noticeable. It was, afterall, just the C team’s second time playing together.
Ketchikan fell 25-13, 25-18 and 25-19 in three straight sets.
“They played better tonight,” Johnson said. “And they made it entertaining. They had a couple good rallies.”
The JV squad lost in a thrilling five-set match, 3-2, to Juneau-Douglas.
The two teams flipped 25-20 scores in the first two sets, before Juneau-Douglas won the third set 25-22. Ketchikan responded with a 25-16 win in the fourth set, setting up a fifth winner-take-all showdown.
Ultimately, Juneau-Douglas snuck away with a 17-15 win. But Johnson couldn’t have been more proud of his JV team.
“The JV game was awesome,” Johnson said.