FAIRBANKS — The Delta Junction Huskies capped an unbeaten run to the Aurora Conference Tournament volleyball championship on Saturday afternoon by sweeping the Monroe Catholic Rams in the title contest.
By winning the tournament at Eielson with a 25-15, 25-19, 26-24 victory against Monroe Catholic, Delta earned the conference’s top seed in the Class 3A state tournament that gets under way Thursday in Anchorage.
Monroe Catholic also earned a trip to the state tournament as the conference’s No. 2 seed. State tournament pairings will be announced by the Alaska School Activities Association on Monday.
The Huskies entered the Aurora Conference Tournament as the fourth seed, but pulled it together to claim four straight wins.
Delta opened the tournament on Thursday with a win against fifth-seeded Eielson. The Huskies followed that up with a victory over the top-seeded Glennallen Panthers and third-seeded Monroe on Friday to set the stage for Saturday’s championship tilt.
Monroe Catholic earned its trip to the state tournament by rallying from two games down to beat the second-seeded Valdez Buccaneers in the losers’ bracket finals of the double-elimination tournament.
Valdez took the first two games 28-26 and 25-18, but the Rams stormed back with 25-23, 25-15 and 15-5 wins to claim the match.
“To start off, it looked like we were in a funk for the first two games, then all of the sudden the light came on,” Monroe Catholic coach Mike Lessley said. “The girls just wouldn’t quit. The believe in themselves and their ability, and now we get to go to state.”
Katie Young had a monster game for the Rams with 28 kills and 17 blocks.
“She was just an animal at the net for us,” Lessley said.
Freshman Sabrina Mariutto contributed 17 kills, with Bella Evans and Ashley King each notching eight kills and two blocks.
“We were just a whole new team the last three games,” Lessley said.
Valdez opened Saturday’s action by eliminating the Glennallen Panthers 25-11, 25-11, 25-19.
Delta’s Stacey Krepel, Anna Bynam and Erica Wells topped the list of 15 players who were named to the all-conference team. Glennallen’s Breanna Peters earned the Most Valuable Player award.
Other all-conference selections were Monroe Catholic’s Bella Evans, Melissa Lynch and Katie Young, Glennallen’s Sydnee Falkner, Valdez’s Tara Phillips, Blake Kueber and Kelsey Lematta, Eielson’s Heidi Ashlock and Kacie Croxen and Hutchison’s Veronica Swaim and Hannah Soland.
Hutchison’s Linda Bode garnered Coach of the Year honors.
The all-sport team featured Monica Clark of Monroe Catholic, Ali Browder of Eielson, Tenisha Hunt of Valdez, Anna Byam of Delta Junction, Ava Goepfert of Hutchison, Alice Madros of Galena and Rachel Stumpf of Glennallen.
Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.