The Ninilchik and Nikolaevsk volleyball teams both lost their opening games at the Class 1-2-3A West state volleyball tournament in Anchorage.
Barrow defeated Ninilchik in three games, while Bethel defeated Nikolaevsk 25-9, 25-11 and 25-16. Ninilchik will play Klawok today in the fourth-place bracket at 9 a.m., while Nikolaevsk will play Skagway in the fourth-place bracket at 10:45 a.m. In the semifinals, Dillingham will play Barrow at 5 p.m. while Tok will play Bethel at 6:45 p.m.
Ninilchik coach Mary Clock said her squad stayed with Barrow in the first couple of games, losing 26-24 and 25-17.
"They were definitely a solid team, but they were not unbeatable," she said. "Our girls all played hard, but they didn't really play united."
Lindsay Schnabl was named the player of the match for Ninilchik, getting three kills and two block kills. Also for the Wolverines, Grace Ehlers had eight kills and two aces, Heidi Skjold was the top server and had 12 assists and Ashley Bartolowits had three kills.
"We look forward to coming out tomorrow and playing our game against Klawok," Clock said.
Nikolaevsk Bea Klaich also said her squad is looking forward to getting back on the floor today. Bethel is a Class 3A school with over 300 students, while Nikolaevsk has just 17 students in the high school, including nine girls. Bethel played against Nikiski and Soldotna this year and beat them both. Klaich said in a few years, the Class 1A and 2A schools will have their own state tournament run by the Alaska School Activities Association.
"It's a bummer we have to put up with it for another year, but it's good that ASAA has recognized something needs to be done," said Klaich, who led Nikolaevsk to the state tournament for the first time in school history.
Efrosia Yakunin was the player of the game for Nikolaevsk, while Klaich said Valerie Yakunin also had a solid game at setter.
"This was our first time at state, and I think that was part of it," Klaich said. "We just didn't play on our side of the net like we needed to play."
Klaich said Skagway is much more beatable than Bethel.
"We have a better chance at playing with Skagway," Klaich said. "They're not unbeatable."
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