T-Birds end Chugiak's season
After beating East High in the opening round of the Cook Inlet Conference volleyball tournament, Chugiak fell to the T-Birds on Saturday, Nov. 3. Not only did the 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-23) loss end the Mustangs’ season, it ended their streak of four consecutive state tournament appearances.
“Pressure situations have always been hard for us,” Chugiak head coach Bobbi Mason said.
The Mustangs entered the Cook Inlet Conference tournament as the third seed. After defeating sixth-seeded East 3-1 on Oct. 31, Chugiak got swept by No. 2 South the following day.
Once in the losers bracket, Chugiak battled from behind to eliminate No. 8 Service from the tourney in five sets 21-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-17, 15-9 on Friday, Nov. 2. Top-seeded Dimond beat South twice Saturday to win the conference title.
Chugiak’s desire to win fueled an impressive final set performance against the Cougars, Mason said.
“They really decided to get out there and just play,” she said. “We’ve been pushing for that all year.”
Though she would have liked the Mustangs to make state for a fifth straight year, Mason said she was pleased with her first season running the program.
“It was kind of a bummer way to end the season, but we’re still happy with the results,” she said.
Mason credited all her players with making the transition to a new coach a smooth process.
“They were so enjoyable to be around,” she said. “We’re definitely going to miss being a team and hanging out.”
Just minutes after their season ended, Mason said she and the potential returners were already eager to get a jump on next year.
Chugiak is losing three seniors, Kara Haeussler, McKenzie Kish and Kathleen Gill.
Thanks to a core group of returners and a strong incoming freshmen class, Mason said the future of Chugiak volleyball is bright. Her goal is to make winning a tradition at Chugiak, Mason said.
“Learning how to win is a skill,” she said.
Sophomore Rachel Gregg was the lone local netter named to the All-CIC First Team as a middle hitter.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or email@example.com.
2012 All Cook Inlet Conference volleyball
Setters — Morgan Hooe, South; Janelle Feller, Dimond.
Outside hitters — Leah Swiss, Dimond; Mikayla Sweet, South.
Middle hitters — Rachel Gregg, Chugiak; Celeste Manumaleuna, Bartlett.
Libero — Aaliyah Lewis, Dimond.
Right hitter — Sierra Afoa, Dimon.
Setters — Elexa Walker, Eagle River; Anastasia Lavern-Tosi, Dimond; Erin Hess, Service.
Outside hitters — Rita Dexter, West; Morgen Wohrle, Eagle River.
Middle hitters — Gabbi LeCates, Eagle River; Morgan Christy, Service; Bobbye Pendleton, Dimond.
Libero — Christa Leader, South.
Right hitter — Genny Boots, Service.
Coach of the Year — Kim Lauwers, Dimond.
Academic award — South, 3.62 GPA