By Craig Giammona
Courtesy Daily Sitka Sentinel
The Mt. Edgecumbe Lady Braves kept their conference winning streak alive Oct. 13 with an exciting win over Sitka High at B.J. McGillis Gymnasium.
In front of a large crowd, the Lady Braves held on for a 3-2 match win and extended their streak of wins over 3A Southeast teams to 56.
"It was a good fun high school match,” MEHS coach Rich Calkins said. “Those close matches are the ones that are good for teams as far as developing.”
The match was back and forth all night. Trailing 2-1 in the match, Sitka was behind 16-10 in the fourth game before rallying for a 25-22 win to extend the match.
The fifth and final game was tied 4-4, before Edgecumbe took control and went on to win 15-9. The victory improved the Lady Braves to 8-0 on the season, with a 7-0 record in the conference.
Edgecumbe played solid defense in the victory, chasing down balls that seemed destined to land on the floor and digging out several well hit Sitka shots.
“I thought our defense was excellent last night,” Calkins said. “There were a lot of really nice hustle plays.”
The Lady Braves, with a 56-match winning streak, are the three-time defending 3A champs. But twice this year they have been forced to a fifth game, a first during the streak. Petersburg put the Lady Braves on the brink earlier this year, and the Lady Wolves did it again last night.
“I’m not surprised by how close it is,” Calkins said, recalling his preseason prediction that Sitka, Craig and Petersburg would all be tough this year. “It’s going to depend on who plays harder and gets on a little bit of a run.”
Mt. Edgecumbe jumped out on top early in front of the home crowd Wednesday -- there was also a vocal Sitka contingent in B.J. McGillis Gymnasium -- taking a 7-0 lead in the first game. The Lady Braves led 10-4 and 14-6 as Sitka struggled with unforced errors.
Sitka eventually got back into the game, cutting the MEHS lead to four at 17-13. The Lady Wolves surged to a 19-18 lead, before Donnita White settled things down with a service winner for Mt. Edgcumbe. The Lady Braves went up 20-19 and held on to win the game 25-20.
Looking to even the match, the Lady Wolves picked up their play in the second game and grabbed a 19-12 lead.
Edgecumbe cut the Sitka lead to 3 at 22-19, but the Lady Wolves held on for a 25-20 win of their win own. The seesaw continued in the third game as the Lady Braves grabbed an 11-8 advantage and built their lead to 6 points at 20-14 on a winner by Brenna Johanson, who had 16 kills in the match. From there, the Lady Braves closed out a 25-19 win for a 2-1 lead in the match.
But the Lady Wolves were determined not to go quietly. The Lady Braves took an early 7-1 lead in the fourth game, b ut Sitka clawed back into the game and trailed 7-5 and 12-9 before the Lady Braves went up 16-10. From there, the Lady Wolves went on a 9-3 run to even the match at 19-19. The Lady Wolves went up 23-20 and won the game 25-22 to even the match 2-2.
The Lady Braves, who were calm and steady throughout the match, didn’t flinch in the fifth game and closed out their 56th straight 3A conference win.
Wednesday’s MEHS Roster
Mt. Edgecumbe: Brenna Johanson, Kristen Johanson, Kailyn Kashevarof, Mariah Martin, Donnita White, Katelyn Cook, Aqualina Active, Maggie Okakok, Elena Beans.