FAIRBANKS-Last night there were two non-conference 3A, 4A games. But they were next door games. Hutchision went next door to play West Valley but first Eielson and North Pole.
The Ravens went up the Rich and were looking for a win after coming off a solid performance against undefeated Monroe. Santa Claus himself was in the building taking a look at the action. Christmas is around the corner.
Eielson didn't give out gifts winning the first set 25-22 behind some timely playmaking of Skylar Meiners who finished with four blocks and two kills. But the Patriots rallied after that and took the next three 25-22, 25-6, and 26-24 for the win leaving the Ravens with coal.
Senior Kayla Ching led the Patriots with 8 kills and Kelly Musgraves was solid with her serving game and added 12 digs. Eielson drops to 2-5 and North Pole is now 3-4.
On the west side of Fairbanks the Wolfpack were up against the Hutchison Hawks who placed third in the ACS Tournament this past weekend.
But the Wolfpack established themselves executing some specialty attacks. West Valley did their thing from the service line too with six aces and only one error.
Ruthie Hebard was efficient with a game high nine kills on 13 attempts. Hutchison's Lina Heinrichs led the Hawks with nine blocks and Vanessa Hasting went five for five on kills.
The Hawks were competitive in each set but West Valley's defense was all over the place. Deenaalee Hodgden had 18 digs on the back row as West Valley gets the sweep 25-21, 25-19, 25-17. Hutchison is now 6-3 and West Valley improves to 4-2.
Hodgden believes these non-conference games help both programs.
"Playing against them helps them out in their 3A and it helps us out in our 4A so having strong competitive teams in our conference and in our town helps improve the overall play here," Hodgden said.
Hutchison head coach Linda Bode emphasized that passing is critical for her team and that it will be the focus as the season rolls along.
"Always the passing, if we can perfect that and get that-our passes at 85, 95 percent to our setter I think we'll be in really good shape," Bode said.
Dave Cox, West Valley's head coach, saw his players rotate in place of others in some key situations.
"The key is everybody's got to be ready because on a well hit ball if we're going to get a touch it's not going to be perfect so someone else has to step in," Cox said. "That's what basically I commended my team with is that a lot of girls stepped in as secondary setters when the setter had to play defense first."