Eagle River volleyball full of potential

Wolves’ coach expects parity in CIC


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Eagle River’s Elexa Walker delivers a serve against Chugiak at the Chugiak Invite on Saturday, Aug. 25.

MIKE NESPER

Head coach Katie Hulse knows Eagle River volleyball has the skill to compete with the state’s top programs.

The Wolves have already proved that at the start of the 2012 campaign.

In the season opener, Eagle River only lost by three in the first game to perennial powerhouse Dimond. The Lynx won that match in straight sets 25-22, 25-14, 25-12 on Aug. 23.

The Wolves then beat rival Chugiak in the first game 25-24 at the Chugiak Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 25 before the Mustangs won the next two and eliminated Eagle River from the tournament.

“They can play with some of the bigger teams,” Hulse said. “Going [three] points against Dimond is really good.”

Eagle River, which finished fifth in the six-team silver division, needs to close out matches, Hulse said.

“We’ve got some kinks to work out,” she said.

Against Dimond, senior Morgen Wohrle led the Wolves with 16 digs. Tess Anderson recorded six kills and Elexa Walker had eight assists.

The Wolves hosted South on Wednesday, Aug. 29, but a score was not available before the Star went to press. Eagle River hosts Chugiak on Friday, Aug. 31 at 7:15 p.m. before hosting nonconference Skyview on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 1:15 p.m.

At the Invite, Chugiak won the silver division over Colony 20-16, 20-11, while South defeated Dimond in straight sets 20-16, 20-18 to win the gold division title.

The Wolves’ focus for now is playing as one unit, Wohrle said.

“We’re learning how to be a team,” she said. “We can only get better from here.”

Wohrle and Anderson, a sophomore, are two of three returners who saw significant playing time at varsity last year, Hulse said. The other is senior Gabbi LeCates.

Eagle River lost five seniors from last year, including first-team all-Cook Inlet Conference selections Lexi Curtis and Lindsey Fukuoka, Kelsey Reeves, Eyna Chacon and Kathy Michalski.

Eagle River’s seven seniors are seeking to end their high school volleyball careers by racking up as many wins as possible, Wohrle said.

“We want to end with a bang,” she said.

For success, Eagle River needs to fight for every point, Wohrle said.

“We’ve got to up our communication on the court,” she said.

After seeing every CIC team except West compete at the Chugiak Invite, Hulse said she expects a lot of parity in the conference this season.

“I don’t think anybody is unbeatable this year,” she said.

The past seven Class 4A state titles have been won by South or Dimond. Last year, South never lost a set en route to an undefeated season.

Once Eagle River gels, the Wolves will be right in the mix with everyone else, Hulse said.

“We’ve got to get more comfortable playing together and we’ll be fine,” she said.

One thing Eagle River doesn’t need to work on is attitude. The entire team has a positive mind-set, Hulse said.

“My girls get along really well together,” she said.

Wohrle agreed.

“We have a lot of fun as a team,” she said.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com

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