FAIRBANKS—The host West Valley Wolfpack rallied to defeat the Lathrop Malemutes in five sets Thursday night to clinch the Mid Alaska Conference high school volleyball regular-season title.
West Valley is 4-0 conference and 8-2 overall with two games left in the regular season — at North Pole on Tuesday and against Lathrop at Ryan Middle School on Oct. 24.
“It’s nice to have the title as far as mental victories go, because we’re such a young team,” West Valley head coach Dave Cox said by telephone.
Also Thursday, the Hutchison Hawks overcame a first-set loss to win in four at Delta Junction in an Aurora Conference game.
Perseverance and Jessi Martellaro’s hitting helped the Wolfpack to a 23-25, 27-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-6 win over the Malemutes on West Valley’s home court.
“In a lot of the games we were down, but the girls persevered,” Cox said. “In game five, we were attacking the ball and moving well. Everybody contributed in game five.”
Martellaro had a team-high of 14 kills to go with four blocks, including three for points. Nora Troppman had nine kills, with four in the fifth set.
Samantha Crawford had five blocks, with four for points, and she provided seven kills and 22 digs.
Tori Howdeshell and Emma Benjamin shared the team digs lead with 26 and Howdeshell served 17 for 19 with two aces. Cristina Bussell served 16 for 17 with two aces and collected 20 digs.
Melissa Spaulding served 22 for 24 with five aces and also led West Valley with 13 assists. Courtney Cox had eight assists and served for eight straight points in the third set.
West Valley also got seven kills from Jessica Rice and four blocks from Lauren Slater, with two for points.
Lathrop (1-4, 2-11) was led by Christina Angell’s eight kills, Emily Krier’s three aces and Ruthie Hebard’s nine total blocks, including six solo. Angell also had a block assist.
Mikayla Triplehorn had three kills, two aces and a solo block, and Abigail Brice provided five total blocks, with three solo. Lathrop also got three kills from Dahnina Matautia,
“We’re getting so much better as we keep going along,” Malemutes coach Joe Donoghue said. “The biggest thing tonight is we had West Valley on the ropes four or five times, but we just couldn’t take that little bit extra and put them away.”
Michaela Heyrend and Jessica Speed each had seven kills and Vanessa Hasting accounted for six of Hutchison’s 31 kills in its 22-25, 25-12, 25-20, 25-9 victory over the Delta Junction Huskies.
“It was a really well-distributed offense,” Hawks coach Linda Bode said by phone. “The defense was coming along but it was weak that first game.”
Alyson Yingling contributed five blocks, and she and Caroline Everts chipped in four kills apiece for the Hawks (4-4 Aurora, 6-6 overall).
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.