Monroe and North Pole VB prepare for state tournament

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) North Pole vs. Wasilla:

The Mid-Alaska Conference champions are playing in their first state tourney since 1989.

The Patriots will face the Wasilla Warriors down at the Alaska Airlines Center. North Pole's star player Ainsley Smith is part of the new chapter for the Patriots story.

"It hasn't sunk in for me at all,” said North Pole’s Ainsley Smith. “Because when we won I was like 'Yay we won another game', but it was like an energetic game and I think I'll feel it when I'm in the gymnasium."

North Pole’s volleyball program has been a process since their head coach moved up to the city in 2014.

"So for this year starting off the season right away they came in and said we want this,” said North Pole Head Coach Rick Swankie. “We are going to work hard. Whatever you want us to do coach we're going to do and that's what they did. The school is proud of them and I'm extremely proud of them."

"It's really exciting because they're a really good team and they're good to compete with and we really want to show them what North Pole can do as well. No one down there has seen North Pole at state. We want to represent ourselves really well with them." said North Pole’s Smith.

This match-up is at 1:30 P.M. on November 14 in Anchorage.

Monroe vs. Nikiski:

The Monroe Catholic Rams will also be in the Alaska Airlines Center, as they will play against the Nikiski Bulldogs.

"I think we are really excited,” said Monroe’s Madelaine Muramoto. “We all have really high expectations, but we don't want to assume anything. We all have things that we want to achieve. We're excited to see how we do and where we go. So it's going to be a fun match-up."

The Aurora Conference champions are back in the state tourney, but for the first time as the one seed from their league since 2013.

"It's sometimes difficult because they always make changes in certain things,” said Monroe Head Coach Dave Obermeyer. “Last time we've seen them was at Grace. So assuming they've gotten better because I know we have."

"I think we're excited to play them, we're not afraid,” said Monroe’s Muramoto. “It's definitely kind of ironic, we've seen them a couple times this year and in the Grace tournament already. We faced them at state think every time we've gone since I've been at this school. I think we're not apprehensive or nervous, more excited to play and see how it turns out."

This match-up is at 1:30 P.M. in Anchorage on November 14.