By TOM HESSE
Sentinel Staff Writer
The Mt. Edgecumbe High Lady Braves finished third at the Dimond Volleyball tournament in Anchorage this weekend.
Head coach Rich Calkins said the tournament was a chance for Mt. Edgecumbe to test itself against the best teams in the state.
The Lady Braves ultimately lost to Dimond High, which Calkins said will be the 4A state champion at the end of the season.
“We had a really good battle with them,” Calkins said. “It was probably the best defense we’ve played all year.”
He said the Lady Braves lost in two sets but played Dimond better than had any other team in the tournament.
Mt. Edgecumbe’s loss to Dimond came in the semi-finals of the tournament. The Braves won the following match against Juneau-Douglas for third place.
In pool play the Lady Braves had split with Juneau-Douglas but defeated Service High School, Valdez and Lathrop. After a first-round bye, the Lady Braves defeated West Anchorage before their semi-final loss to Dimond. Prior to the tournament, Mt. Edgecumbe played Bartlett and won in four sets, Calkins said.
“It was a really good weekend and it was good for them to play against some bigger schools and see some things they hadn’t before,” Calkins said.
Deenaalee Hodgdon and Taryn White were named to the All-Tournament Team, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
White had 109 kills during the tournament and Hodgdon had 102, but Calkins said it was the team’s defense and passing that made Mt. Edgecumbe competitive in the predominantly 4A tournament.
“Everyone sees the big hits by Taryn and Deenaalee and they deserve a lot of credit but we did as well as we did because we got contributions from everyone.”
“Danielle Fields had some great blocks and we got a lot of help from our freshman Payton Weisz and Leilani (Saena) who was filling in for Eden (Cronk),” Calkins said.
Calkins also identified strong passing and setting by Maggie Okakok and Mariah Martin as being important to the team’s success.
The Lady Braves will play against Sitka next at Sitka High School on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Lady Wolves were off this weekend, and Wednesday’s final installment of the Battle of the Bridge will be the last match of the regular season for Sitka. The Lady Braves will squeeze in two more matches against Petersburg this weekend.