Petersburg Pilot -

Volleyballers crowned Regional champs

 


The Petersburg High School volleyball team is headed to State after winning the Regional Tournament in Skagway last weekend. The Vikings continued to dominate their 2A opponents, going 3-0 over for the tournament and never losing a set. Now, they are going to the State Tournament in Anchorage to play the last matches of the season Dec. 3-5.

“It was a great weekend for the girls. Every one had great weekends,” head coach Jamie Cabral said. “Once we found our rhythm in the beginning of games we just kind of took off from there.”

The Vikings spent way more time traveling than playing, but luckily they had a short practice on Thursday to prepare for tournament play. The team easily won their first match against Skagway in three, and then they faced the Craig Panthers.

“It was close in the beginning,” Cabral said. “We were point for point pretty much up until about 11 points in game one, then we snuck away with a win.”

The Vikings ended up winning the first set 25-16, and set two was almost identical. In game two the teams were tied at 11-11, before Petersburg pulled away for another 25-16 set win. The point runs in game one and two were strongly aided by good serving that kept Craig out of sync. Petersburg won the third game 25-7 after coming out on fire and never looked back. Cabral says the Panthers made the Viking’s front line hitters work for points, but Petersburg kept finding ways to score, sending Craig to the loser’s bracket.

The team had to wait for their next opponent to be decided by the loser’s bracket, and Craig was able to make their way through and earn a spot in the championship match. However, the rematch in the championship mirrored the earlier match between the Panthers and Vikings. Petersburg went on to win the match and take home the championship 25-16, 25-18 and 25-10.

“I am extremely happy for them with how far they have come and what they have accomplished,” coach Cabral said. “This group is definitely on another level.”

To prepare for this moment Carbal has increased the intensity of his teaching throughout the year. More recently the team has been working on advanced tactics like switching from double block to single block defenses and transitioning after touches on swings from the opponents. The team has also been learning how to take away line shots from hitters and funneling potential kills toward awaiting defensive players. The Vikings have also prepared to cover opponents that tip the ball while attempting to score points rather than swinging away, and how to make fluid defensive transitions, he says.

The girls will be going up against their toughest competition of the season at State, but they have proven they can play with just about any team and look forward to the challenge. Cabral says the team has accomplished a lot of their goals but still has higher goals to achieve. The coaching staff’s main focus is and not letting mistakes defeat them.

“The big thing that we keep talking to them about is what they control. Control everything that you can control, everything else is out of your control,” Cabral says. “The only thing standing in our way right now is ourselves.”

Cabral also admits to doing some scouting of potential opponents at State, by asking for insight from friends familiar with northern teams. This group of girls has never been to State, so it’s a whole new experience for them, he says. However, Cabral says he has all the confidence in the world that they will succeed, because they are very self-driven and goal oriented.

“This group is very resilient to everything, and they work well together,” he says.

 

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