by Tommy Wells
The Bethel Regional High School Lady Warriors got more than a little experience this past weekend in front of the home fans by playing four games in the 2019 BRHS Volleyball Invitational in the WarriorDome. They also good a glimpse of the rough-and-tumble Western Conference.
Bethel was among three Western Conference teams competing in the round-robin tournament. Also playing in the event were rivals Barrow, Kotzebue and the North Pole Lady Patriots.
North Pole, despite an early loss to perennial state power Barrow, came on strong in the final day of play and posted a 3-0 victory over the Lady Whalers to clinch the tournament championship. Kotzebue edged past Bethel for third.
The Lay Warriors kicked off their outing with a tough 3-0 loss to Kotzebue. Despite a strong performance from Ava Lieb, the Lady Warriors suffered a 25-17, 25-19 and 25-23 setback.
Bethel didn’t fair much better in their next two matches, falling to North Pole 25-11, 25-17, 25-7 and Barrow, 3-1. Barrow took the first two games 25-22 and 25-11 before the BRHS girls rallied to take Game 3, 24-26. Barrow salted away the win with a 25-9 run in the final frame.
By going 0-3 in seeding play, Bethel dropped into a third-place showdown with Kotzebue. The Lady Huskies went 1-2 in seeding play, with their lone win coming via Bethel.
Kotzebue evened its record for the weekend at 2-2 with a 3-1 win over Bethel in the third-place game. After splitting the first two games, Kotzebue won the final two sets to close out the win.
North Pole defeated Barrow in the first-place game, 3-0. The Lady Patriots won 25-14, 25-21, 25-22.
Bethel Invitational Volleyball Tournament Final standings
1st North Pole
Janille Donovan, Barrow
Justine Balanza, Barrow
Ava Lieb, Bethel
Belle Wilson, Kotzebue
Kinley Erickson, North Pole
Lindsey Elgin, North Pole