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VOLLEYBALL

Prep Volleyball: Wasilla, East both unbeaten after Day 1 of Class 4A state tournament, will square off Friday

by | Nov 9, 2023 | Cover Story, Volleyball

Wasilla’s Allison Devine (2) celebrates with her team. Photo by Bruce Eggleston/MatSu Sports

Both top seeds won both matches on Day 1 of the Class 4A state tournament to reach the winner’s bracket semifinal, but they took different paths to get there.

Top-seeded Wasilla flattened a pair of powerhouses in Dimond and South while No. 2 East swept Soldotna before holding off Service in a four-set dogfight with a two-point differential.

Wasilla (71-3) will face East (50-15) at 5:15 p.m. Friday at the Alaska Airlines Center, with the winner punching its ticket to Saturday’s state championship match.

The Warriors have won 13 straight matches and 39 straight sets dating back to Oct. 7 after dispatching South 25-18, 25-21, 25-21 in their second match of the day.

Rylee Pitney had five kills in the third set, including back-to-back blasts that gave Wasilla a 23-21 edge.

Allison Devine had four kills and an ace in the third set, highlighted by her outside slam on match point. Devine was good at the end, and at the beginning. In the first set, she won seven straight points on serve to fuel an 8-0 run that put Wasilla in control.

Other standouts for the Warriors included Layla Hays and Maylee Anderson. Hays had 10 kills and five blocks while Anderson showcased skills as a digger and setter.

Wasilla’s Ava Holland goes on the attack against Dimond blockers Ailafo Fautanu (17) and Sarah Dittman (4). Photo by Bruce Eggleston/MatSu Sports

In the second set, Wasilla seized a 9-4 lead after Anderson twice kept the rally alive with one-handed defensive saves before Hays hammered a spike for the point.

The 6-foot-3 Pitney and 6-foot-5 Hays are twin towers at net and made it difficult for South hitters to find any rhythm.

Litia Momoisea pumped life into the Wolverines in the second set after scoring four points during a 5-0 and later adding kills to pull South within 22-19 and 23-21.

Momoisea was marvelous in that second set with six kills and one block.

The third set was fire. Players from both teams made pancake saves as the action tightened with neither team capable of taking a big lead. The set was tied 6-6, 18-18 and 21-all.

Pitney was the difference down the stretch for Wasilla, scoring five of her team’s final 14 points.

Earlier in the day, the Warriors swept defending state champion Dimond 25-14, 25-17, 25-13 to reach the second round and face South.

Meanwhile, the CIC champion East T-birds got their state tournament going with a 25-13, 25-22, 25-20 win over Soldotna in the afternoon followed by a 25-22, 16-25, 25-23, 25-19 triumph over Service.

East’s Monika Rezic serves one up. Photo by Bryan Boyett/Alaska Sports Report

In the nightcap, East was lights out at crunch time after closing out the first set with a 5-1 run, the second set on a 6-3 run and third set on a 5-0 run.

The T-birds needed everything to go their way to stop Service in a topsy turvy match that was decided 91-89 in total points.

East’s Lajirah Boma blasted 13 kills to go with two aces and two blocks for the match. Her back-to-back kills gave her team an 18-12 lead in the first set.

On this night, however, no lead was safe.

Service stormed back to take a 21-20 lead behind the 1-2 punch of Patricia Ferran and Paige Miller.

But East stood tall at the end, winning five of the final six points and getting key kills from Monika Rezic and Mariaha Afuvia.

Ferran was fabulous in the second set, scoring six points on five kills and a block. Her block gave the Cougars a 20-15 lead and back-to-back kills closed out the set.

The third set was back and forth. Service led 5-1. East was up 11-8. Service roared back to lead 19-15 before the T-birds clawed back to win 10 of the final 13 points, capped by Boma’s bomb.

The fourth set was more of the same – hard-fought points.

Service’s Patricia Ferran winds up. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Goon Gallery

Ferran flirted with a double-double in kills and blocks and gave Service an 11-8 lead.

But East wouldn’t be denied. Backrow specialist Mya Oliver symbolized the T-birds’ never-say-quit spirit with diving digs and big serves.

The firm of Rezic, Afuvia and Boma held court down the stretch to lift the T-birds into the winner’s bracket semifinal against Wasilla, which beat East in three previous meetings this year.

Friday’s winner goes to the title match while the loser goes to the consolation bracket and will have to work its way back in the double-elimination tournament.

Story made possible by:

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Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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