The Nikolaevsk volleyball team finished second in its bracket at the Mix Six state tournament at Dimond High School in Anchorage on Thursday to advance to the championship bracket.
The Warriors lost to Tanalian 2-0 before defeating Unalakleet 2-0. They then had to sweat it out when Unalakleet defeated Tanalian in the first game, but Tanalian came back to win the second game and go in as the No. 1 seed, while Nikolaevsk is No. 2.
The Warriors start championship bracket play Friday with a 2:45 p.m. match against Hoonah, the winner of Pool D.
Last year, Nikolaevsk won its pool, but Point Hope, the team that finished second in that pool, went on to win state.
“That’s what I’m hoping for,” Nikolaevsk coach Bea Klaich said. “It’s not that we didn’t play well. We played pretty solid, but some definitely had first-game jitters.”
For example, Klaich said freshman Justin Trail was making his debut at state and had up-and-down play.
Klaich chose Markiana Yakunin as the player of the pool from the Warriors. With boys jousting at the net, Klaich said covering up attacks and blocks is crucial. Yakunin exceled in that area all day.
The coach added that senior captain Michael Trail was steady all day and setter Elizabeth Fefelov did a good job getting to balls that were not passed perfectly.