Strong defensive efforts by Lauren Donovan and Kinley Erickson helped spark the North Pole Patriots to a 25-15, 25-16, 25-16 win over the Eielson Ravens in Tuesday night’s nonconference volleyball match at North Pole High School.
“Lauren Donovan and Kinley Erickson played amazing defense tonight,” Patriots head coach Rick Swankie said by phone. “Between the two of them, Eielson couldn’t put the ball on the floor. They were digging up everything.”
However, Eielson sometimes displayed an effective net game.
“What was happening with our blocking was they were touching the ball and getting little tips and dribbles that we were not able to clean up after that,” Swankie said. “They also had a couple of girls who had a couple of good serve runs.”
Patriots middle blockers Madyson Conley and Alivia Himebauch combined for 12 kills, with Conley compiling seven and Himebauch generating five.
North Pole, 7-3 overall and 3-1 Mid Alaska Conference, got 25 assists and five kills from Ainsley Smith.
North Pole plays the Delta Junction Huskies, of the Aurora Conference, at noon Saturday in the Dan McHenry Gymnasium at North Pole High School.
Trinity Eliasen served a string of five points with two aces in the first set for Eielson, 3-8 overall and 2-6 Aurora. McKenna Hopper had a six-point serving run with three aces during the third set.
Hopper also had three blocks and Shannon Holan provided the Ravens with 11 digs.
The Patriots were a good preparation for the Ravens for their back-to-back conference matches against the Delta Junction Huskies at 6 p.m. Thursday at Eielson and at the same Friday at Delta Junction High School.
“We get to see a bigger school that does very well in its conference and is a state-(tournament) caliber school,” Eielson head Nicole Robinson said. “North Pole is a really, really competitive school.”
The MAC is a Class 4A conference and the Aurora is a 3A conference.
The Ravens also have a fundraising exhibition match against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, of the North American Hockey League, at 6 p.m. today in the Eielson gym.
Monroe wins in four sets
Chloe Maynard delivered 25 kills and made five blocks and Madeline Muramoto contributed double-digit kills and digs for the Monroe Catholic Rams in a four-set, Aurora Conference win over the Hutchison Hawks on Tuesday in Boileau Hall at Monroe Catholic High School.
The teams split the first two sets, with Monroe taking the opener 25-19 and Hutchison winning 25-22 in the second set. The Rams claimed 25-19, 25-22 wins, respectively, in the third and fourth sets.
Muramoto put down 15 kills and came up with 15 digs for the Rams, 9-5 overall and 7-2 Aurora.
Tia Campanelli distributed 40 assists for Monroe, which got 20 digs from Jenna Hernandez, 15 digs from Casey Elterman and six blocks from Sophia Stepovich.
Monroe was coming off a second-place finish in the gold bracket of the Lady Grizzly Classic on Friday and Saturday at Grace Christian High School in Anchorage.
“We went down there with eight ladies,” Rams head coach Dave Obermeyer said. “There were some things we discussed yesterday (Monday) that we had to work on.
It seemed like the effort was there today.
“We were tired but we continued to play well throughout the match.”
Monroe visits the West Valley Wolfpack, of the MAC, at 6 p.m. today.
Hutchison’s Bri Majors had a combination 64 digs, serves and serve-receives Tuesday. She registered 41 digs, made 13 serves with three aces and had 10 serve-receives.
Sydney Scott made 15 serves with two aces.Raven Drake had 15 serves with an ace and she distributed a match-high 54 assists.
The Hawks, 8-3 overall and 5-2 Aurora, got five kills each from Allyonna Mandregan, Talya Edgerly and Grace Halbrooks.
Hutchison hosts the Valdez Buccaneers at 6 p.m. Friday and 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Friday’s match is the Hawks’ homecoming and Saturday’s contest is senior day for Hutchison.
Valdez is the defending Aurora Tournament champion, captured the 3A state ttile in 2017 and was state runner-up last year.
“They’re usually the top two teams vying for state,” Hutchison head coach David Halbrooks said of Valdez and Monroe. “They definitely raise the level of the team’s play when we play them; it puts us to the test.”
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.