Craig Panthers scratch and claw their way to 2A State Volleyball Championship

Craig wins the 2A Volleyball State Championship in a fashion that you don't normally see
Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 5:31 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Craig Panthers went undefeated during the ASAA 2A State Volleyball Tournament, but it was far from easy with every one of their matches going at least four sets and the championship match going five.

The Craig Panthers know a thing or two about being underdogs. They don’t have a big hitter, they don’t have a mind-blowing setter, and the team is without a libero, but what they do have is each other.

“The thing about this team is that they have been playing together — basketball and volleyball — since they were in fifth grade,” head coach Shannon Isaacs said. “They’ve got this connection that they are so kind to each other even when they are a little snappy with each other, just like they are a family.”

That chemistry of growing up together could be seen on the court, especially when it came to the championship match where the panthers found themselves down two sets to one. In the huddle between sets the girls weren’t dejected, but were dancing around and having fun with each other almost as if they knew it was going to work out.

“You’re putting everything you are onto that floor and so is your team so when you finally win and all that hard work pays off it feels like the best thing in the world,” Craig senior Amiaya Hansen said.

The Tri-Valley Warriors put up a great fight playing an almost completely different style than the Panthers. While the Panthers keep the ball alive with a lot of bumping and setting the Warriors have some big hitters that showed off their skills. In the end however, it wasn’t enough as the Craig Panthers pulled it off in a way that only they could do.

“Captivating,” Isaacs said. “We win together as a family and we have definitely lost. We were second in our region and we were definitely more of a captivating team. Our interests aren’t necessarily just because we have that hard hitters, and the best setter, we don’t even have a libero this year. It’s just that we just grab your attention and we hold it.”

The Craig Panthers now getting to hold the 2A State Championshiop crown for the next year.