Petersburg Pilot -

Viking volleyball finishes third at State

 

Orin Pierson / Petersburg Pilot

Belinda Chase was one of the proud Viking parents who met the victorious volleyballers returning from State. Her daughter Emma Chase was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Petersburg volleyball only lost one match last weekend to earn third place at the State Tournament in Anchorage. However, the outcome was somewhat disappointing for the six seniors on the team but only because their ultimate goal was to win the whole thing, according to head coach Jaime Cabral.

Junior Emma Chase earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. Chase was also named to the All-State Tournament Team along with teammate Adanna Kvernvik. The Vikings also won the Sportsmanship Award for the 2A division.

"Although we didn't get the first place or second place trophy, we did come home with a very important one with the sportsmanship trophy," Cabral says. "Pretty special for the girls to accomplish that. Great group, fun year."

The team had a ton of support from parents at the tournament and once they got rolling in their first match it was on. The Vikings went undefeated for the better part of the season, and most of their matches started the same, with slow starts–State was no different.

Cabral says the girls could not wait to get on the court and shake the nerves out. In their first set of the tournament, the team trailed Su-Valley 12-22. The start might have had the coaching staff nervous, but that has been the forte of the Vikings this season. The girls came back to win the set 27-25, then the second 25-22 and finally the third 25-14, to win the match.

Friday night the girls took on the Dillingham Wolverines, and the gym got loud with both teams having a lot of parents and fans in the stands. Unfortunately, the Dillingham defense frustrated the Petersburg hitters, something that really never happened all season. The game was emotionally and physically demanding, and the Vikings fell to the Wolverines. The Vikings were able to win the first and fourth set, but lost in five 25-16, 20-25, 20-25, 25-23 and 8-15.

"We had a difficult time winning the long rallies, because they were just ferocious on defense," Cabral says. "Their resiliency was tough, and we just ran into a good team that had a great day against us."

One of Coach Cabral's biggest concerns going into the tournament were how the team would react to a difficult, emotional loss. The loss was tough to swallow, but the team bounced back in the third place game, much to the delight of Coach Cabral.

On Saturday, the Vikings took on the Bristol Bay Fighting Angels and earned third place with a three set victory. The final set against Bristol Bay, Coach Cabral made sure that all six seniors were on the floor to finish the match. The action was ceremonial, but also motivation for the players watching on the bench.

Ambre Burrell / Submitted Photo

The team's seniors and head coach together at State, pictured left to right: Kyla Willis, Catherine Cardenas, Ruby Brock, Coach Jaime Cabral, Kelly Engell, Josie Prus, and Adana Kvernvik.

"Some of the young girls started to get a little emotional there, and started to tear up," he says. "They are going to miss this group, they had some great leadership. Definitely, definitely a special place for me with this senior crew and this team."

This was the first trip to State for the Viking volleyball in quite some time. Cabral says the environment and the intensity of playing a high priority game pushed the team to another level giving the Vikings a priceless experience. Whether the team took first or third, the seed of success has been planted. The dedication and commitment of the seniors has created a culture of hard work and working together to achieve team goals, Cabral says.

"It was good to see them finish on a high note, and good to see them bounce back after a tough loss after not losing a three out of five match since October," he says. "They have worked hard and been through a lot, and it's nice that they kind of set the tone for Petersburg volleyball from here on out."

 

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