Chugiak netters finish fourth at state
Mustangs go 2-2 at Class 4A tournament
Chugiak’s Emma Toth pushes the ball over the net against West Valley on Friday, Nov. 15.
Natalie Stark, Rachel Topf and Kirsten Veech might have been honored during Chugiak volleyball’s senior night in the regular season, but the girls knew it wouldn’t be the final match they’d play in front of a home crowd.
With Chugiak High hosting this year’s state tournament, the Mustangs set a goal at the start of the season to be one of the eight teams vying for a Class 4A title. Though tears were shed when Chugiak was eliminated Saturday, Nov. 16, concluding their high school careers in front of their fans was a nice way to cap the season, Stark said.
“We were just happy we could end on our home court,” she said.
The Mustangs finished fourth after Kodiak won 25-18, 25-22, 25-18 on Saturday. Chugiak’s Rachel Gregg, who was named to the all-tournament team, led the attack with 15 kills and 13 digs. Topf (four kills) and Anna Ingraham (nine digs) dished out 15 assists apiece, and Stark added 11 kills.
The team should be proud of finishing fourth, Veech said.
“That’s nothing to be ashamed of,” she said.
South High defeated Dimond in four sets 20-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-22 to claim the Class 4A title.
Chugiak opened the tourney against Kodiak on Thursday — with the same result as their second meeting. The Bears won in straight sets 25-22, 25-11, 25-19. Veech recorded 11 kills and eight digs while Topf added 12 assists and three kills.
The Mustangs rebounded from their opening-round loss to win two matches Friday. They swept West Valley 25-22, 25-11, 25-19 before downing Palmer in a tight, five-set match 22-25, 25-17, 26-24, 22-25, 15-12.
Against the Wolfpack, Gregg furnished 16 kills and eight blocks. Ingraham had 14 assists, three aces and three kills. Topf recorded 14 assists and two blocks, and Emma Toth had four kills and one block.
Gregg erupted for 31 kills and six blocks against Palmer, and Ingraham racked up 33 assists. Stark added 15 kills and seven blocks, and Topf dished out 13 assists, 10 digs and seven blocks.
Though Chugiak is losing Veech, Topf and Stark, next year’s returners have a lot of experience between them, Stark said.
“They’re going to be a really strong team,” she said.
“I wish I could come back and play with them,” she said.
Throughout the year, Veech said, Chugiak formed a tight bond.
“In a team sport, you got to rely on your teammates,” she said. “Every single one of these girls has my back.”
Topf echoed her words.
“We’re all really good friends,” she said. “It was just a fun team.”
The knowledge head coach Bobbi Mason instilled in the team is something Stark said she’ll always remember.
“Some of the things Bobbi taught us go way beyond volleyball,” she said. “They’re life lessons.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or email@example.com
2013 State Volleyball Class 4A All-Tournament Team
Holly Morehouse, South; Mackenzie Everett, Colony; Chrisalyn Johnson, Dimond; Rachel Gregg, Chugiak; Kayla Sims, South; Macey Buresh, Palmer; Deenallee Hodgdon, West Valley; Hannah Wandersee, Kodiak; Leah Swiss, Dimond; Sierra Avery, South; Isabelle Riina, Kodiak; Rohyn Huss, Dimond.