FAIRBANKS — The Monroe Catholic High School volleyball team assured itself of at least second place in the Aurora Conference with a sweep Tuesday night of the Hutchison Hawks in Boileau Hall.
The Rams pulled out a 25-17, 25-21, 25-16 win, setting up a regular-season title showdown Friday and Saturday against the visiting Valdez Buccaneers. The teams meet at 6 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday.
“Those two games are going to decide who goes to the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed and who goes as the No. 2 seed,” Monroe head coach Mike Lessley said by telephone Tuesday. “They’re going to be big games.”
The conference tournament takes place Nov. 2-3 at Hutchison.
Also Tuesday, the North Pole Patriots won in four sets against the Lathrop Malemutes in a Mid Alaska Conference game and the West Valley Wolfpack downed the Eielson Ravens in four sets in nonconference action at West Valley.
Marissa King produced 10 kills Tuesday while Emily Pfister registered eight kills for Monroe, 7-0 Aurora and 12-1 overall.
Andi Clark had seven kills, Brittany Johnson six and Alyssa Norris four. Delainey Stokes compiled 14 assists and Clark distributed 13.
“When we played smart, we mixed up our hits, covered the court and we played well,” Lessley said.
Hutchison was coming off a third-place finish in the Play for the Cure Tournament in Delta Junction on Saturday.
“We’re still a better team tonight than we were two weeks ago,” Hawks coach Linda Bode said. “It’s disappointing that we couldn’t take a game from them, but Monroe’s a very good team.
Senior utility player Lauren Fisher had a good effort off the bench for Hutchison.
“For her coming into a pressure situation and playing back row, she did a good job,” Bode said.
The host Patriots won in a battle of wills and clinched second place in the Mid Alaska Conference.
“It was a battle of wills from the get-go,” Lathrop coach Joe Donoghue said. “It was nice to see both teams step out, be aggressive and really want to take control of the match.”
North Pole coach Tina Ferringer expressed similar sentiments.
“It was a good solid match,” she said. “We had long rallies, and it was nice to see both sides really competing. Lathrop played well but I think we just executed on our serve-receive-passing and our attacking.”
North Pole won 27-25, 25-27, 25-19, 25-23, sparked by 33 digs from junior libero Kelly Musgraves and 20 digs and 14 assists from senior setter Ashlynn Mulcare.
Sophomore middle blocker Megan Smith provided 10 kills and .476 hitting percentage, and Mulcare and junior middle blocker Kayla Ching had six kills apiece. Ching also served six aces and Musgrave served four, and junior defensive specialist Andrea Lambert contributed 17 digs for the Patriots, who finished 3-3 in conference play.
Emily Krier led Lathrop with 17 digs and Ruthie Hebard delivered a night-best 14 kills.
Christine Angell recorded 10 aces, generated nine digs and laid down four kills. Karli Fitzgerald and Cali Hoyos each had eight digs, Dahnina Mautautia chipped in five and Mikayla Triplehorn finished with four.
Lathrop (1-4 Mid Alaska, 3-11 overall) ends conference play today with a 6 p.m. game at West Valley. North Pole plays host to Palmer in a senior night game at 6 p.m. Friday.
Emma Benjamin served 34 for 34 with seven aces and produced 28 digs, guiding West Valley to a 25-13, 24-26, 25-11, 25-17 win over Eielson.
Lauren Slater aided the Wolfpack with 12 kills, 14-for-14 serving with five aces and she had four blocks, with three for points.
“The girls stepped out with a little more energy than I’ve seen in the last few matches,” West Valley coach Dave Cox said. “They were on a mission to step up their game.”
West Valley (9-3 overall) got 15 digs from Tori Howdeshell, 14 assists from Melissa Spaulding and 12 kills from Nora Troppman. Jessica Rice contributed four blocks, with two for points, and Courtney Cox served 19 for 21 with six aces and she distributed seven assists.
No statistics were reported for Eielson.