Nanooks are regional champs, soon off to State
The Lady Nanooks took the championship title in the Western Conference Volleyball Tournament over the weekend and will head to the State 3A Tournament in Anchorage. They got an early Halloween fright from a motivated and amped up Kotzebue team first thing Friday, but stayed tough to take the game 3-2.
The Barrow Whalers defeated Bethel to take the second spot and a trip to Anchorage.
“It was close all the way until the end,” said Nanook coach Lena Danner of the Kotzebue game. “But we expected that. They’ve improved a lot in the last couple of weeks. We knew we weren’t going to just walk in and take it so we definitely played this championship with caution because of that first match.”
“Kotzebue brought it, they were very intense,” said assistant coach Stephanie Stang. “I thought they both played very well.” Stang also pointed out that the Nanooks are working very well together. “They talked today. They’ve been together for a while and they definitely play together.”
With two weeks to state from the regionals what does coach Danner have planned for the team? “I told the girls that we need to be quicker,” she said. “But even though we won regionals I don’t feel like we are quick enough right now. It’s been a couple weeks since we had good competition, like Lathrop here at Pinkies and then in Barrow, so I’m hoping that that doesn’t offset us, doesn’t stop our momentum.”
“I have setters that I can play anywhere,” she continued. “I have setters playing in the front row, outside, middle. We have deeper capabilities.”
Mary Ruud, who played for the Nanooks herself and whose sister Teri plays on the team, is impressed with the girls this year. “They have a great defense and they have great hitters and great setters. It’s a really good all-around team. And they have a good attitude.” Ruud, who has the best walrus bark in the house, will attend the state championships.
The Nugget asked Barrow assistant coach Amiseko Unutoa who he thought looked tough for the state tournament. “In the 3A division right now it looks like Valdez, Grace Christian and Mt. Edgecumbe,” he replied. “And of course our Region One Nome Nanooks are real strong competitors.”