CIA loses second match, faces New Stuyahok Saturday

Cook Inlet Academy's second match in the Alaska School Activities Association Class 1-2A Volleyball State Championships was against another team that won its conference this fall - Kenny Lake.

The two teams hadn't matched up yet this year, but Kenny Lake coach Shilah Butler said she knew the Eagles would give her team a challenge at Dimond High School on Friday.

"We knew they hit really well," Butler said.

But at the end of four games, the Hawks came out ahead of the Eagles, besting them 25-21 in the final game for a 3-1 record advantage in the match.

Saturday, the Eagles play New Stuyahok for third place at 12:30 p.m.

CIA coach Lindsay Keener said the girls played hard, but they didn't get into their groove until Game 3, which the Eagles won 25-17.

"I think we waited too long to start playing well," Keener said.

The Hawks took the lead at the start of the match, and held it for much of the first two games, winning Games 1 and 2 25-14 and 25-18.

In Game 3, the Eagles had the lead nearly the entire time, letting the Hawks catch them just once, when the score was 8-8.

Game 4 was much closer. The Hawks led until Cook Inlet Academy tied the game at 13 on a play at the net and took off. The Eagles stayed ahead until the Hawks caught them 20-20.

Butler said her setter, junior Kristi Knutson, helped tip the match in the Hawks' favor. She also credited junior Emmie Van Wyhe and senior Leah Carlson for a number of good plays. Carlson was named player of the match for Kenny Lake.

Sophomore Nicole Moffis was named player of the match for Cook Inlet Academy. She offered up serves that the Hawks didn't return, and kept the Eagles in the game.

"She had some good saves," Keener said.

Keener said she's confident going into Saturday's game.

"We have seen them play and I feel like we have a good shot at beating them tomorrow if we come ready to play," Keener said.

Saturday will be the last game for seniors Kelsie Leaf, Chloe Nelson and Angie Uchtman.

"It's bittersweet," Leaf said. "Mostly bitter."

Leaf said she hopes they'll end the season, and their careers, with a win. CIA is looking to avoid its fate of last year, when the Eagles won their first match at state before dropping the next two.

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