Nikiski cruises to tourney title

Posted: Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Nikiski volleyball team won its first Southcentral Conference title since 2001 Saturday at Houston high school, sweeping Grace Christian in the championship game.

Friday's games

Nikiski, Grace get byes

Game 1 Heritage 3, ACS 0

Game 2 Seward 3, Houston 0

Game 3 Nikiski 3, Heritage 0

Game 4 Grace 3, Seward 0

Saturday's games

Game 5 Seward 3, ACS 0

Game 6 Heritage 3, Houston 0

Third-place game Seward 3, Heritage 2

Championship game Nikiski 3, Grace 0

Nikiski coach Bruce King was named the conference's coach of the year, while Hannah Thompson was named the conference's most valuable player.

The Bulldogs topped the Grizzlies 25-18, 25-18 and 25-16 in the championship game to keep their record perfect for the season.

"We had a match plan for Grace, and the girls executed it perfectly," King said. "It really was a major team effort. Everyone contributed, even if it didn't show in the stats."

Thompson had nine kills and three blocks in the championship, while Georgie Heaverley added 12 digs, eight kills and four serve aces.

Sherra Pritchard, filling in for the injured Krystal Gladden at middle hitter, had two blocks, while Stacey Griffel had 22 assists, Sasha Auldridge had three serve aces and Amber Huhndorf had nine digs.

"Her passing was perfect," King said of Huhndorf. "She really fueled our offense."

In Friday's semifinals, Nikiski defeated Heritage Christian 25-17, 25-17 and 25-13. Thompson had 11 digs, 10 kills and six blocks in the match. Also for the Bulldogs, Auldridge had eight digs, Griffel had 21 assists and eight digs, Heaverley had seven kills, Pritchard had four blocks, Huhndorf had five aces and Eirleen Lee added four aces.

The name of the tournament was changed from District 3/3A to Southcentral Conference this year, so Nikiski can always say they won the first Southcentral tournament. Nikiski also advances to state.

"We're not done yet," King said. "Our goal all along has been to get the No. 1 seed from the conference at the state tournament."

While Nikiski had to play just two matches in the tournament, Seward, the other peninsula entry, played four matches in two days to claim third place and a spot in the state tournament.

On Friday, Seward advanced to the semifinals by defeating Houston, but the Seahawks lost Friday night in the semifinals to Grace.

Saturday, Seward topped Anchorage Christian Schools 25-10, 25-19 and 25-13 in the third-place semifinals, then really emptied the tank in a 20-25, 25-19, 25-23, 17-25 and 15-4 victory over Heritage in the third-place game.

Southcentral Conference MVP Hannah Thompson, Nikiski.

Southcentral Conference coach of the year Bruce King.

Southcentral Conference first team Kendra Madsen, ACS; Beth Balistreri, Grace; Katelyn Perry, Grace; Megan Hanks, Heritage; Taryn Tumaoder, Heritage; Janelle Burge, Heritage; Georgie Heaverley, Nikiski; Stacey Griffel, Nikiski; Lara Loomis, Seward; Amy Reiserson, Seward.

Southcentral Conference second team Amanda Hargrove, ACS; Cortney Hoch, ACS; Elisabeth Hubbell, ACS; Davina Kinney, Grace; Jessica Mackey, Heritage; Samantha Ax, Houston; Alena Katzenberger, Houston; Jennifer Mason, Houston; Krystal Gladden, Nikiski; Janessa Anderson, Seward; Siri Gillespie, Seward.

Southcentral Conference honorable mention Kirsten Bauer, Houston; Jenna Smith, Grace.

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