West Valley and Monroe clinch titles and state berths

NORTH POLE-It was championship Saturday for the Aurora and Mid Alaska volleyball conferences. Monroe and Hutchison went for the Aurora title at Eielson High school.

Hutchison went through the gauntlet playing three games on Saturday. They beat Delta and Eielson then avenged a loss to Valdez to get to the title game over two days. The Rams defeated Eielson and won in five over Valdez to get to the championship.

Monroe won the championship match in four sets 25-14, 24-26, 25-20, 25-19. Emily Pfister had 17 kills for Monroe. Jackie Lemons had 45 digs and Andi Clark had 30 assists.

Now both teams will go to the 3A state tournament. The top two teams go to state. It will be the Hawks fifth ever state berth. Monroe and Hutch will be the one and two seeds as well. The state tournament starts Thursday in Chugiak and West High School.

In the MAC conference. West Valley and Lathrop battled for the title. West Valley won the first set 25-15. Lathrop rallied in the second their largest lead of the set was 21-15 and they tied the match winning 25-18 win in the second.

But West Valley won set three 25-20 and jumped out to an 11-3 in set four winning 25-14 sealing the victory and a trip to the 4A state tournament.

It's West Valley's sixth straight conference title and fifth straight regional championship.

"We're taking more shots, more aggressive shots and hitting out more or you know hitting into the block and having it on our side. They're just a big team. They did very well in the net," Lathrop head coach Joe O'Donoghue said.
 
West Valley head coach Dave Cox believes that his team's blocking ability will be key during the state tournament.

"We've been to tournaments and shutdown the attacks of Anchorage teams with our strong block. As long as we continue to do that like we did today-yeah we have a shot," Cox said.
 
Outside hitter Stella Knox is sure her team can contend at the stat level.

"We're going to go down to a lot of tough teams. We're just going to play our best. We know we can compete with all of them so we're just going to go and play at our top level and see where we can go," Knox said.