The Nikiski Bulldogs' found the exit to the ASAA Class 3A State volleyball tournament on Friday at the Curtis Menard Sports Complex in Wasilla, by way of a 3-0 sweep from Monroe Catholic.
According to Nikiski head coach Stacey Segura, the 'Dawgs were unable to find their rhythm in a 25-17, 25-19, 25-20 contest.
"We've been down that road before, and I don't know if it's just tournament jitters or what, but they weren't competing as well as they could be," Segura said. "I felt like I did everything I could do, but these girls were just not competing the way they should."
Setter Rachel Thompson led Nikiski with 29 assists, Rebekah Krogseng caught 13 digs, Sienna Wallis had six kills and four blocks, and Taylor Calderwood and Bailey Buchholz each had six kills. Nikiski ended its season with a 11-3 regular season record, but was 0-2 in the state tournament.
Monroe charged to a 9-1 lead in Game 2, which was enough to withstand a 7-2 point run from Nikiski late in the game. It was more of the same in Game 3, as Nikiski suffered from inconsistency to come up short 25-20.
Segura reasoned that since the Bulldogs have not competed in the state tournament in five years, the lack of experience likely was the determining factor.
"It's been five years since Nikiski's been to state, and I'm a first-year head coach, so it's not too big a disappointment," Segura said. "I feel like this group of girls broke down the wall, as far as accomplishing our goals, and I'm proud to coach them."