FAIRBANKS—Two Matanuska Valley teams were too much for the Lathrop and West Valley high school volleyball squads on Thursday.
The Houston Hawks swept the Lathrop Malemutes 26-24, 25-13, 25-20 at Ryan Middle School and the West Valley Wolfpack struggled against Colony’s middle attack, falling 25-13, 25-17, 25-13 to the Knights from Palmer.
West Valley, 5-2 overall, plays host to Houston at 6 tonight and Lathrop (1-6) hosts Colony at noon Saturday.
The host Malemutes started strongly in the opening set but they were victims of the Hawks’ resiliency.
“They were not really challenging us early in the first set, so we backed off,” Lathrop head coach Joe Donoghue said by telephone. “That gave the Hawks enough push to take over that set.”
Houston continued its momentum in the second set, leading Lathrop 24-8. The Malemutes, like they did in the first set, were effective early in the third set but had trouble with the Hawks’ middle presence.
“They were being aggressive there and we were not, and it allowed them to dominate the game,” Donoghue said.
Davahnei Matautia played only in the first set for Lathrop, but she laid down a team-best five kills.
Mikayla Triplehorn had four kills while Christine Angell contributed a team-high 10 assists to go with seven digs and three kills. Karli Fitzgerald chipped in a team-best eight digs and had three kills.
Lathrop also got seven digs from Emily Krier and six assists from Abbi Walker.
West Valley head coach Dave Cox didn’t remember the name of the Colony middle hitter, but he didn’t forget her performance.
“We’ve played against her before and we knew her approach and where she hits, but we have such young girls that she took them back,” Cox said.
“She hits the ball hard, and jumps over your block and powers the ball straight down,” he added. “We don’t see that much in the Interior, and of course, with a younger squad, we haven’t seen it at all.”
West Valley led 9-2 in the second set before Colony rallied.
“When we were upbeat, we were talking and we were aggressive,” Cox said. “As soon as we made a couple of errors, our confidence went away and they ended up beating us.”
Christina Bussell led West Valley with 11 digs and Tori Howdeshell had 10. Lauren Slater paced the hosts with eight kills while Samantha Crawford provided four kills and three blocks.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.