Kaitlyn Surdyk, right, and a teammate fight to block a shot during action against Porter Creek early in the season. Andrew Cremata Andrew Cremata

Panthers play Klawock close, take second
Home exhibition match Dec. 1; then off to regionals Dec. 3-4

By JEFF BRADY

 The Skagway High School volleyball team is scoring more points than ever, but still are not quite where they want to be.
The Lady Panthers earned a second seed in the region with convincing wins over Gustavus, Thorne Bay and host Hoonah during last week’s north seeding tournament. However, they could not quite overcome their recent nemesis, the Klawock Chieftains.
Skagway played two matches against the defending region and state champs for the top seed in next month’s region tourney, and nearly knocked off Klawock.
In the first match, a marathon that coach Cindy O’Daniel said lasted two hours, Skagway lost the first game 23-25, then won the next two 25-21 and 25-17, lost the fourth game 27-29, and then fell in the finale 17-19.
“We actually scored more points than they did,” said O’Daniel. “We were in a position to get first.”
The two teams would play one more time. Skagway fell behind in the first game but made a huge comeback behind the serving of Kaitlyn Surdyk, who lifted the team from a 17-24 deficit all the way to a 26-24 win.
The SHS volleyball team played Klawock close but could not overcome the defending state champs in the SE region 2A north seeding tourney in Hoonah. The Lady Panthers easily beat 3 other teams and will be seeded second at region tourney next month. But Klawock came back strong, winning the next three games to thwart Skagway’s chances for top seed.
O’Daniel said the team has shown her a “ton of improvement” and “really got our offense working.”
But to get past Klawock and win a region championship, she said the girls need to work on their “mental toughness.” They are playing good enough to win.
The team travels to Thorne Bay for the 2A region tourney on Dec. 3-4, and then the top two teams will advance to state tourney in Anchorage Dec. 9-11.

UPDATE: Before heading to regionals, he team will play exhibition matches with local teams on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m.