By Craig Giammona
Mt. Edgecumbe's Kristin Johanson dives for a ball at the state 3A volleyball tournament.
Mt. Edgecumbe players Kristin Johanson, right, and Katelyn Cook go for a ball at the state tournament in Wasilla recently.
Mt. Edgecumbe's Brenna Johanson hits a ball over the net during the state championship game with Grace Christian.
Courtesy Daily Sitka Sentinel
The Mt. Edgecumbe Lady Braves came up one match short.
The four-time defending Region V champions lost in straight sets Nov. 13 to Grace Christian in the final match of the 3A state tournament in Wasilla.
Grace Christian wrapped up an undefeated season with its first state volleyball title since 1999, while the Lady Braves finished another strong season with a second-place finish at state.
After coming from behind to claim their fourth straight 3A Southeast title -- Edgecumbe had to win three matches on the final day of the Region V tournament, including two over Craig -- the Lady Braves opened state play with wins over Barrow and Seward. The Lady Braves downed Barrow in straight sets, then beat Seward 25-18, 25-21 and 28-26 Nov. 12 to advance to the state finals, the first time Mt. Edgecumbe has made the state championship game since 2007, when they fell in five sets to Cordova.
The Lady Braves finished fourth in the state the last two years. Grace Christian took SaturdayÕs final with wins of 25-14, 26-24 and 25-23. The loss ended a somewhat improbable run for the Lady Braves, who entered the season with just three returning varsity players on the roster.
But the Lady Braves did not miss a beat in 2010, going 11-1 in the conference before winning another Region V title. The Lady Braves had a 58-game conference winning streak snapped by Sitka High, but Edgecumbe came back to beat the Lady Wolves in a state play-in game at the Region V tournament. Edgecumbe continued its strong play at state, coming up one match shy of claiming the Japonski Island schoolÕs first state volleyball title.
The Lady Braves basketball team won the first team state title in school history last March, when they downed Anchorage Christian School in the 3A championship game.
The Craig Panthers ended up fourth at the state volleyball tournament, beating Monroe 25-22, 19-25, 25-22 and 25-17 in the fourth-place match. Craig lost in the opening round to Dillingham, then beat Delta Junction and Monroe.