Wolves, Mustangs miss out on state volleyball but still earn top CIC awards
Both Chugiak and Eagle River were knocked out of the Cook Inlet Conference Volleyball Tournament without earning a state tournament berth, but local players and coaches didn’t go home empty handed.
Eagle River coach Kaylee Purington was named the CIC’s Coach of the Year after helping the Wolves to a two-win CIC regular season, while the Wolves won the academic award and Chugiak’s Ellie Scherffius was named first-team All-Conference.
A 2009 ERHS grad, Purington led a team that got steadily better as the season wore on. The Wolves lost both matches at the CIC tournament, but placed fifth at the Dimond/Service tournament last month and suffered a heartbreaking loss in an elimination match at the CIC tournament.
The tournament’s No. 8 seed was eliminated after winning the first two sets against West on Thursday. Eagle River was in control early, winning the first set 25-21 and rolling to a 25-14 win in the second. But West seized the momentum with a 25-19 third-set win, then forced a do-or-die fifth set with a 25-20 win in the fourth. There, the Eagles needed extra points, winning 17-15 to claim the match.
The Wolves opened the tournament with a 3-0 loss to top-seeded South.
Eagle River also earned the CIC’s academic award, topping the conference with a cumulative 3.74 GPA.
Chugiak’s Scherffius was named a first-team All-Conference hitter for the Mustangs, who were eliminated Friday with a 3-0 loss to Bartlett on Friday afternoon. A senior outside hitter, Scherffius has committed to play college volleyball at the University of Montana.
Chugiak opened the tournament with a 3-1 loss to East, then rallied to knock off Service 3-2 before falling to the Golden Bears.
Eagle River junior setter Liz Ruehle was named second-team All-CIC, with Chugiak’s Reyna Moore and Eagle River’s Chloie Garber named honorable mention.
Dimond defeated South 3-1 to win the tournament title, with Bartlett claiming third place.
Coach of the Year: Kaylee Purtington, Eagle River
GPA Award: Eagle River (3.74)
First team: Leeanna Atafua, Bartlett; Sarina Gibbin; South; Kylie Hurd, South; Isabelle Watkins, Service; Gillian Huss, West; Ellie Scherffius, Chugiak; Hahni Johnson, Dimond; Kimmie Roth, Dimond; Khadjiah Morgan, East; Precious Fagafaga, East
Second team: Zaysharae Malia-Hughes, Bartlett; Judith Utuga, Bartlett; Loralynna Atafua, Bartlett; Cami Houser, South; Hazel Allen, West; Liz Ruehle, Eagle River; Kadyn Osborne, Dimond; Sapi Asailevai, Dimond; Precilla Fagafaga, East; Predenia Fagafaga
Honorable mention: Sierra Fainuulelei, Bartlett; Sarah Robinson, South; Shea Kirkpatrick, Service; Paige Brow, West; Reyna Moore, Chugiak; Chloie Garber, Eagle River; Savanna Horton, Dimond; Tristhy Tulabot, East