Juneau, Alaska (JIVE) - The Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza - the JIVE to all fanatics from the dig, set, and spike crowd - will begin play Friday with 10 teams competing through two days of pool and double-elimination bracket competition in the Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé gymnasiums, culminating in championships Saturday night.
The inaugural JIVE started in 1992 as the brainchild of then coach Sandy Wagner and assistants Dale Bontager and Pat Gorman.
“We wanted to host a home tournament,” Wagner, now the Associate Director for the Alaska School Activities Association, said. “And bring in teams that normally may not get there.”
The first year was all southeast, Alaska teams.
“But then after that we had teams coming in from the Peninsula, Anchorage and Fairbanks,” Wagner said. “It was our way of bringing in outside teams.”
Wagner coached JDHS volleyball for 27 years.
“It was the way that we brought in higher level volleyball to southeast Alaska,” Wagner said. “We actually had some teams come up from down south. It was our way to promote and kind of bring in teams from outside of southeast and show Juneau at what level volleyball could be played and get excitement about the game. It was a great way to promote and bring volleyball to southeast, Alaska at a higher level.”
Thunder Mountain Falcons coach Julie Herman started for the, then, Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears and played in four straight JIVE tournaments.
“She started as a freshman,” Wagner said. “She was a very good player.”
Longtime Juneau sports official Bob Sims has refereed in all JIVE tournaments to date, and will be on the courts in this one as well.
“I think what it has done over the years is it has given the people in southeast Alaska, particularly in Juneau, the opportunity to see what the level of volleyball is from bringing teams from north down south,” Sims said. “To see what really good high level volleyball is all about.”
Sims remembered some of the clashes throughout the years.
“I remember Dimond and Bartlett coming down a time or two when they were one of the really good teams in the state,” he said. “And it was fun to see at that time just Juneau, before Thunder Mountain was built, played them really close. I went up to state that year as well and Juneau just dominated everybody.”
One of those teams featured Thunder Mountain coach Julie Herman, then known as Julie Heard, and teammates such as Amy Neussl, Kelly Baxter, Callan Janowiec, Nikki Bennett and Ryia Wilder who would go on to win the 2002-03 state championship and be undefeated in the entire season. Herman would be state all-tourney the next season.
Herman, who started four years for the Crimson Bears, remembers defeating Bartlett in that JIVE and for the state title.
“The JIVE is always a really fun tournament to be a Juneauite,” Herman said. “To be a Juneau person and get to play in because all the teams come here so it just makes it feel extra special. That’s what I remember from high school. Every year we had a team from up north and that creates a little extra buzz and I think that is happening this weekend as well with Colony here to bring a high level of play. And it’s just fun when southeast gets together and plays volleyball, right? That’s what I remember.”
Varsity teams from JDHS, TMHS, Colony, Craig, Haines, Klawock, Metlakatla, Mt. Edgecumbe, Petersburg and Sitka will be in action for the 2021 rendition.
Friday’s opening schedule includes:
2:30 p.m. - Sitka vs. Craig (aux. gym)
3:00 p.m. - Colony vs. Sitka (aux.)
3:30 p.m. - Petersburg vs. Mt. Edgecumbe (aux.)
4:00 p.m. - Colony vs. Petersburg (main gym); Sitka vs. TMHS (main), Craig vs. Metlakatla (aux.)
4:30 p.m. - JDHS vs. Mt. Edgecumbe (main); TMHS vs. Klawock (main); Colony vs. Craig (aux.)
5:00 p.m. - JDHS vs. Klawock (main); Mt. Edgecumbe vs. TMHS (main); Metlakatla vs. Petersburg (aux.)
5:30 p.m. - JDHS vs. TMHS (main); Mt. Edgecumbe vs. Klawock (main); Craig vs Petersburg (aux.)
6:00 p.m. - Sitka vs. Petersburg (main); Metlakatla vs. Mt. Edgecumbe (main); Colony vs. TMHS (aux.)
6:30 p.m. - Sitka vs. JDHS (main); Colony vs. Klawock (main); Petersburg vs. TMHS (aux.)
7:00 p.m. - Sitka vs. Metlakatla (main); Colony vs. Mt. Edgecumbe (main); Craig vs. Klawock (aux.)
7:30 p.m. - Colony vs. Metlakatla (main); Sitka vs. Mt. Edgecumbe (main); Petersburg vs. JDHS (aux.)
8:00 p.m. - Craig vs. Mt. Edgecumbe (main); Metlakatla vs. JDHS (main); Petersburg vs. Klawock (aux.)
8:30 p.m. - Craig vs. JDHS (main); Metlakatla vs. TMHS (main); Sitka vs. Klawock (aux.)
9:00 p.m. - Colony vs. JDHS (main); Craig vs. TMHS (main); Metlakatla vs. Klawock (aux.)
Saturday action begins at 9 a.m. with pool play until 12:30 p.m.
The teams will then be placed in Gold and Silver Brackets to play in double elimination tournaments until the championship game at 7 p.m.
The Falcons and Crimson Bears just finished a home-and-home series last weekend with TMHS winning Friday at JDHS 25-16, 25-20 and 25-14 and the Crimson Bears returning that sentiment on Saturday at the Falcons court in a five-set thriller 25-22, 23-25, 22-25, 25-18 and 13-15.
They have split four conference games against one another, while JDHS has also defeated Ketchikan and TMHS had games cancelled against the Kings. The Region V tournament will be in Ketchikan November 5-6 and the ASAA state championships will be in Anchorage Nov. 11-13.