Nikolaevsk wrapped up a fourth-place finish Saturday at the Mix Six state volleyball tournament at Anchorage Christian Schools.
“It’ll be a volleyball tournament we’ll never forget,” said head coach Bea Klaich.
The three-day tournament was cut to two days after Friday’s schedule was cancelled due to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that rattled the Anchorage Bowl early in the day. The tournament was also relocated from Dimond High School to ACS.
Because of the missed day, tournament officials cut down the length of matches by making each first-round game a best-of-three contest, down from the traditional best-of-five format. Each match following the first-round games then turned to first-to-30 points, similar to the “if-necessary” game that the Class 3A and 4A tournaments hold.
After splitting Thursday’s pool play matches, the Warriors began Saturday with a 2-0 loss to Hoonah with scores of 27-25 and 25-22.
From there, Nikolaevsk defeated Akiuk 1-0 with a score of 30-24, then prevailed over Gustavus 1-0 to claim fourth-place honors, with a final score of 30-28.
The Warriors’ best finish at state volleyball remains a runner-up result in 2014.
Klaich said the changed format of the tournament made for a difficult time.
“The kids started off slow, and playing two out of three is definitely a different feeling,” Klaich said. “The kids were having trouble regrouping. It’s a little disappointing because I know they could play better.
“But they didn’t give up. I told them, state is not going to be a cakewalk, you’re going to have to work to be up here.”
Nikolaevsk junior Elizabeth Fefelov was named the tournament’s top setter. Fefelov was also named to the all-tournament team, along with senior Michael Trail.
Klaich said because the team was scheduled to play late in the day Friday, the players were sleeping in at the Dimond Center Hotel later than normal when the quake hit at 8:29 a.m.
“They had to be up by nine, but things started rolling at 8:30,” Klaich recalled. “Within two minutes, all three of my rooms texted and said they were fine.
“We took a walk to the mall, which most of it was closed, but we were looking in windows and seeing everything that fell off the shelves.”