Mustang volleyball fourth at state

Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 15:07
3-1 win over Juneau-Douglas caps fourth straight state tourney run.
Senior setter Mollie Matthis was named Player of the Match following Chugiak's 3-1 win in the fourth place match of the ASAA Class 4A Alaska State Volleyball Tournament at the Menard Center in Wasilla on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Chugiak downed Juneau-Douglas 3-1 (25-20, 25-17, 24-26, 25-20) on Saturday to claim fourth place at the ASAA Alaska Class 4A State Volleyball Tournament at the Menard Sports Center in Wasilla. The win marks the second consecutive year Chugiak has ended the state tournament with a victory.

The Mustangs, who have made four straight state appearances, finished third last year, fifth in 2009 and second in 2008.

Senior Mollie Matthis, who finished with 24 assists, 18 digs and two aces, was named player of the match. Seniors Karlee Kavanaugh and Anna Matthews each had 13 kills. Matthews added eight digs and one block while Kavanaugh added 36 digs and two aces.

Senior Kristy Howard recorded nine kills, 15 digs and three blocks.

After trailing 9-12 in the first game, Chugiak scored 13 straight points to take control of the game. The Mustangs built an eight-point lead in the second game and never looked back.

Chugiak looked poised to notch its second consecutive shutout — the Mustangs blanked Wasilla on Friday — but Juneau-Douglas kept fighting. Faced with four Chugiak match points, the Crimson Bears rallied to score six in a row and force a fourth game.

“Juneau didn’t give up,” Matthews said. “They played every point.”

But the Mustangs weren’t letting the match extend to a fifth game.

“The fourth game we decided let’s calm down, play our game,” Karlee Kavanaugh said. “Let’s do it.”

The game remained close until Chugiak called timeout holding a 15-13 lead. Head coach Kelly Kavanaugh said he told his team to find its powerful, fast offense from the first two games.

“And they did,” coach Kavanaugh said. “Anna just went right out there and took care of it in the middle.”

Matthews ripped off three spikes and accounted for three of Chugiak’s final four points, including match point. After the timeout, Chugiak strung together four points to gain a 19-13 advantage.

Coach Kavanaugh said the Mustangs were a different team than the group who lost 3-1 to Palmer in the opening round Thursday.

“Even when things weren’t going well today, we didn’t have that look of, ‘Oh my goodness. What do we do now?’” he said.

“I’m totally proud of them,” coach Kavanaugh said. “They’ve worked hard all season.”

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