The North Pole Patriots and Lathrop Malemutes faced off against one another on the Patriots’ home court Tuesday evening. Two of the very best that Fairbanks and the state of Alaska have to offer in volleyball made for quite the matchup on paper.
In the end, the Pats got the result they were hoping for.
Madyson Conley had quite the night to remember as she put up eight kills, three aces and three blocks to help lead the Patriots to a three set sweep of the Malemutes 25-13, 28-26, 25-11.
It was smooth sailing for most of the first set, one of the wilder sets you’ll see in the second, and business as usual for the Patriots in the third as North Pole got the win. To do so in three sets against a quality opponent in the Malemutes was quite the impressive feat, one that wasn’t lost on Pats’ head coach William Johnson.
“Consistency is our greatest ally,” he said. “(Lathrop is) a phenomenal team and you can never count them out. They have great serving, great hitting, we do not take them lightly nor can you ever take them lightly. We knew going into game two that we were going to have to keep the momentum going that we had from game one...It was definitely a team win.”
Set one was back and forth early with North Pole holding the slight edge as they got out to an 11-8 lead early. From there, the Patriots got red hot as they scored three straight before Lathrop called timeout.
After the timeout, the Pats stayed hot as they scored six unanswered points and 10 of the next 11 to go up 24-9. The Malemutes, to their credit, didn’t let the score get them down as they scored four straight before surrendering the final point of the match to lose 25-13.
Set two was a show to watch. The Malemutes kept their effort from the end of set one going as they got out to a 6-2 lead that grew to 9-4 before North Pole called timeout. Whatever Johnson said during the timeout, it worked. The Pats scored seven of the next eight points to tie things up at 11 all.
The game was back and forth from there. Lathrop went up 13-11, the Patriots tied it 13-13. The Malemutes took a 17-15 lead, the Patriots tied it. It was the kind of game you love to watch. The two teams began trading one point after another until Lathrop went up 25-24, needing just one more point to win the set and even things up.
That didn’t happen, however, as they two teams continued to battle. The Malemutes went up 26-25 before North Pole managed to close the set out with three unanswered to win 28-26.
The third set saw the Patriots take second once again. They jumped out to a 12-2 lead and were never challenged as they eventually won 25-11.
In addition to Conley’s performance, Emma Enlow also had eight kills to tie her for the team lead. Lindsey Elgin tied the team lead with three aces, Alivia Himebauch tied for the team lead with three blocks and McKenna Smith led the way with 11 digs.
TT Tagovailoa led the way for Lathrop as she put up 13 kills and 12 digs, Serenity Fa’asao had 20 assists and Kristen Lawrence had three aces.
In addition to North Pole-Lathrop, Monroe Catholic visited Delta on Wednesday night. The Rams won that game in three 25-7, 26-24, 25-14. Delaney Ott had 12 kills, Brityn Ward had 29 assists and Nadia Chernich had 12 digs to lead the way.
Eielson hosted Hutchison on Wednesday night as well with the Ravens winning in four sets 18-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-10.