Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons volleyball team showed they will be a force in the 2021 state 4A volleyball championships at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center on Thursday, defeating the Palmer Moose 3-1 in their best-of-five opening match and hanging tough with the top-ranked Dimond Lynx before falling 3-0.
“I am very proud of the way the girls played today, particularly against Dimond,” Thunder Mountain coach Julie Herman said Thursday night.
Thunder Mountain, the Southeast Conference champions, dropped their first game against Northern Lights Conference No. 3 seed Palmer 25-12, but rebounded with three straight set wins 25-13, 27-25 and 25-22. Falcons senior Sydney Strong was Player of the Match against the Moose.
The win advanced Thunder Mountain into a 7 p.m. game Cook Inlet Conference No. 1 seed Dimond. The Falcons were in the match all three sets against the Lynx, falling by scores of 25-20, 25-18 and 26-24. Falcons senior Molly Brocious was selected Player of the Match against the Lynx.
“When you play a top team in the state and put pressure on them, earning kills, blocks and digs, forcing them to take timeouts, you are playing great volleyball,” Herman said. “Heads held high the whole way. Particularly I would like to mention Sydney Strong and Mallory Welling for putting up some huge kill points for the team… and Talita Toutaiolepo for her serve receive and defensive digs.”
The Falcons fall into the Losers Bracket and play an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. Friday against the elimination game winner between Mid Alaska Conference No. 1 seed North Pole and NLC No. 1 seed Colony (10 a.m.).
Dimond had beaten the NLC No. 2 seed Wasilla Warriors 3-1 in the opening round, winning by set scores of 25-12, 15-25, 25-9 and 25-9. The Lynx now advance to play CIC No. 2 seed West Anchorage in a Winners Bracket semifinal at 5:15 p.m. Friday. West beat Colony 17-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-14 in their opening match.
Wasilla plays Palmer in an elimination game (11:45 a.m.) with the winner facing CIC No. 3 seed South Anchorage (3:15 p.m.). South had beaten North Pole 25-22, 25-20, 25-23 in their opening match but then lost to West Anchorage 25-13, 25-19, 22-25, 25-20.
In this file photos from Oct. 29 against Ketchikan at TMHS: ABOVE - Thunder Mountain senior Molly Brocious serves. BELOW - TMHS junior Talita Toutaiolepo receives a serve. AT BOTTOM - TMHS senior Sydney Strong kills a shot against Ketchikan. The Falcons defeated Palmer and lost to Dimond at the state tourney on Thursday. Play resumes Friday.