Nanooks See Progress Despite Zero Wins

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Kensey Mix, an Elementary Education student, spikes the ball against her opponents. – Max Mckurtis / Sun Star

Aaron Walling / Sun Star

Despite posting zero wins in the Alaska Nanooks Classic, the Nanooks came out swinging in the end to show huge improvement from last year. The Nanooks played in two five-set matches and fought hard against a defensive juggernaut in the Saint Mary’s Rattlers.

“Nobody likes a loss,” Head Coach Brian Scott explained. “We always want a win, but we sent the message tonight that Nanook volleyball will not be the same as it has in the past. We saw a lot of fight out of these girls tonight, and they stuck in the match and battled point-for-point.”

Scott is trying to instill a new culture to the volleyball team, and the results are definitely showing. The Nanooks faced the Minot St. Beavers in the first game and dealt with a powerhouse and a half in senior Mallory Sall for the Beavers. With the Nanooks facing defeat down two sets to one in the series, they turned to their youth. Freshman Amberly Jeane came in and dominated the nets with 12 kills against the tough defense from the Beavers’ Sall and Rachel Fagerburg.

The Nanooks went on to force a five-set match. It is the first time they have played five sets in a home game since 2012 against Findlay (Ohio) which was also in the Alaska Nanook Classic.

“I think we had some great things happen tonight,” Scott said after Friday’s loss.  “This isn’t the same team as last year, even though most of the girls are the same. They didn’t crumble after losing two sets, they fought back and went back to work and that’s the approach we are teaching them.”

Throughout the tournament, the Nanooks faced stiff competition going through two straight five-set matches and missing those opportunities didn’t deter Scott’s enthusiasm about his young team.

“Even though this weekend’s outcome wasn’t what we wanted, we emphasized to the girls that huge steps were still made,” Scott said.   “Progress is being made and we specifically talked about how many sets were won this weekend opposed to how long to it took to win that number last year. This team battles, and we are going to keep progressing and moving forward. This weekend was just the start.”

The tournament ended with the Nanooks losing all three matches, with the Saint Joseph’s College Pumas winning the Classic.

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