Kotzebue Huskies win Arctic Pinkies Volleyball tourney
The Nome-Beltz Nanooks hosted the Arctic Pinkies Volleyball Tournament last weekend. Five unusually equal teams contested the title and Kotzebue squeaked by Barrow in a cliffhanger to take it.
With no single team able to dominate play, the action was close in every game.
On Friday the Nanooks downed Kotzebue while they themselves were defeated by Barrow. On Saturday the Nanooks lost to Kotzebue and then to big city Service, both times in closely fought battles. This eliminated the Nanooks from contending for the title.
Nome coach Lucas Frost was upbeat about the Nanooks’ performance in the tourney.
“Last night we beat Kotzebue in four,” said Frost. “All very close matches. 25-23, 25-20. Same thing with Barrow. We ended up going four with them and losing but the sets with them were in that same range. As a coach it’s frustrating because it’s the little things that end up costing you. To be competitive with the teams that we’re playing right now is awesome. And my team is mostly juniors. That makes me really positive about not only the next two weeks but also next year and the years past that, as well.”
“Any of the teams could win,” said Service coach Gina Burington. “Volleyball is an emotional game, it’s a game of momentum. In one set you can have wild swings of how it’s going.”
Because of heavy weather the Kotzebue Huskies arrived late and had to play four straight games on Saturday. They defeated Nome, lost to Service, defeated Barrow, and then lost to Barrow. This set up the final of the Huskies vs. the Whalers. The scoring went 18-25, 25-22, 15-9, and Kotzebue took the final “if necessary” game 30-27.
The tournament, which is an annual event, raises money to donate to The Arctic Pinkies, an organization supporting cancer patients.
“We wanted to have this tournament and we wanted to do it for a purpose,” said Nanook coach Frost of the tourney’s origin five years ago. The Arctic Pinkies donated the team’s pink jerseys. Frost invited cancer survivor and Iditarod musher Deedee Jonrowe to Nome for the tournament and she was present for most of the games. She also visited and was photographed with each team.
“Our girls usually carry the banner in the Walk for the Cure,” said Frost.
Next week the Nanooks are off to Bethel for a tournament with Bethel and Kotzebue and other village teams.
“And the following weekend we go right back to Bethel for regionals,” said Frost.
Friday Best of Five results:
Barrow def. Nome 3-0 (25-23, 25-13, 25-20)
Nome def. Kotzebue 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-17, 25-15)
Saturday game results (all best of three):
Bethel def. Service 2-1
Kotzebue def. Nome 2-0 (24-13, 25-21)
Barrow def. Bethel 2-0
Service def. Nome 2-1 (26-24, 23-25, 15-4)
Kotzebue def. Barrow 2-0
Service def. Bethel 2-0
Barrow def. Service 2-1
Barrow def, Kotzebue 2-1 (18-25, 25-22, 15-9)
Kotzebue def. Barrow 1-0 (30-27) * The “if necessary game” - Single Set to 30 to decide tournament championship due to Barrow def. Kotzebue in the previous game.
All tournament team:
Nome: Kastyn Lie and Annalise Contreras
Barrow: Kuutuuq Danner and Miyla Wright
Kotzebue: Cassidy Cramer
Service: Julie Fetko
MVP: Crystalynn Tula'i