by Tommy Wells
The Bethel Regional High School Lady Warriors’ bid to claim a berth in the upcoming Class 3A state volleyball tournament came up a bit short on Saturday afternoon.
Kotzebue rallied from a 1-1 deadlock late in the second-place game to edge out Bethel in Game 3 and Game 4 and clinch the Western Conference runner-up honors. Only the top two teams from the Western Conference advance to the state tournament, which will be held Nov. 9-10 in Anchorage.
Bethel made Kotzebue’s route to earning its second straight berth in the state meet anything but easy. The Lady Warriors rode the talents of seniors Katie Crow, Arianna Smith, Dorothy Bukowski, Farrah Lieb and Courtney Williams to solid efforts in each of the best-of-five frames.
Kotzebue managed to survive a serious threat in Game 1 as Williams and Crow teamed to help the Lady Warriors kick off the contest by scoring six of the game’s first 11 points.
Bethel didn’t ease up from there. The Lady warriors fought to within 24-23 before Kotzebue finally managed to claim the final point and took a 1-0 lead.
Deja Jackson brought Bethel back in Game 2. The junior served up a team-high seven points in the frame and helped Bethel roll to a 25-21 victory that knotted the score at one game apiece.
Angeline Alexie also played well for BRHS in Game 2, as did Williams and Crow. Alexie served up five of the Lady Warriors’ points in the second game. Williams and Crow added four apiece.
Kotzebue regained its composure from there. The Lady Huskies scratched out a 25-19 win in Game 3 and then closed out the contest by netting a 25-10 decision in Game 4.
With the loss, Bethel finished third in the Western Conference tournament standings.
The Barrow Lady Whalers claimed the conference championship with a 3-1 victory over Kotzebue on Friday.
The Lady Whalers, who had opened the tournament earlier in the day with a win over Bethel in the semifinals, improved to 19-1 for the season. Kotzebue had defeated Nome in the other semifinal.
Following its loss to Bethel, the Lady Warriors earned the right to play Kotzebue for second by downing Nome in the consolation finals.