Nikolaevsk claims Denali championship crown
The beat continues on for the Nikolaevsk Warriors. Uhhh ... better make that the 2017 volleyball season continues on.
Nikolaesvak nailed down the 2017 Denali Conference championship on Saturday by sweeping past Kodiak Emerging Small Schools, 3-0. Kodiak ESS is a co-op team consisting of players from Akhiok, Old Harbor, Larsen Bay and Ouzinkie.
Playing in front of a large home crowd, Nikolaevsk dominated Kodiak ESS in the championship game, winning 25-13, 25-20 and 25-21. With the victory, the Lady Warriors earned their fifth-straight berth in the ASAA State Mixed-Six Volleyball Championships.
The Lady Warriors, who finished fifth at the state meet a year ago, will tip off action this year on Nov. 30 in Pool D. Joining Nikolaevsk in Pool D will be Hoonah, the Southeast Conference runner-up, and Point Hope, the North Slope Conference champion.
"I'm excited about this year's team advancing to state and believe the team should be able to play well," said coach Bea Klaich. "I have a balanced starting line up consisting of two seniors (outside hitter and defensive specialist, Kalenik Molodih and defensive specialist Kristin Klaich), two juniors (middle hitter and blocker Michael Trail and setter Chelsea Johnson) and two sophomores (setter and outside hitter Elizabeth Fefelov and outside hitter Zachary Trail). I have a deep bench with sophomores Justina Fefelov, Markiana Yakunin and Chris Jackson."
Overall, 12 teams advance to the state mixed-six tournament. During pool play, the teams play in three groups of four teams. The bottom team of each pool drops into a consolation bracket, while the remaining eight teams compete in a single-elimination bracket with a consolation side.
"The key to our success will be keeping the players sharp between now and state, and continuing to improve our game with each practice," said Klaich, who led the team to a state-runner-up finish in 2014.
The Warriors first game will be at 5:30 p.m. in the Dimond High School gym in Anchorage. The state tournament will continue through Dec. 2.