CHS volleyball squad wins conference playoff, advances to state

Front row, from left: Alana Esguerra, Jieller Tabara, Inga Arvidson, Edrea Navarro and Aaliyah Malazo. Back row: Andrea Vargas, Erika Galera, Cali Sjostedt, Riley Butler, Gwethalyn Jacob and Abby Bourgeois. (Photo courtesy of Janelle Greenwood/For The Cordova Times)

Playing before a packed gym and spurred on by a lively cheering section, the CHS Volleyball team roared through the three-day Borealis Conference Tournament here on Nov. 15-17.

The Cordova spikers finished first, going undefeated in all four of their matches in the double elimination playoff, and will advance to the State 2A Tournament at Dimond High in Anchorage on Nov. 29 – Dec. 1.

“We didn’t make it to State last year”, said Cordova Coach Janelle Greenwood, “and were determined to get back there again.”

In their fourth season in the 2A Classification, Greenwood’s squad made it to State the first two years, before barely missing out the past season. Five of the six starters for this year’s team are seniors, and they weren’t to be denied.

“This was our best weekend of games so far this season”, said Greenwood. “Everyone turned up their desire and dug deep to stick together and keep an upbeat attitude.”

In Round 1 on Thursday, Nov. 15, Cordova topped Wasilla Lake Christian 25-7, 25-14, and 25-11, and then defeated Su-Valley 25-12, 25-16, and 25-17.  On Friday, Nov. 16, Cordova edged Unalaska 25-23, 25-21, and 25-17.

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In Saturday’s Championship match, Cordova won the first game 25-16 and the second game 25-19, before losing their only game of the tournament 21-25.  CHS then finished off the exciting match with a tense 25-23 win.

Both Cordova and Su-Valley will advance to State.

Cordova’s Abby Bourgeois and Aaliyah Malazo were named to the eight member All- Tournament team, with Andrea Rios of Birchwood Christian selected as Tournament MVP.

Wolverines Aaliyah Malazo and Riley Butler were named on the eight player Borealis All-Conference team.  Selection was based on overall season performance.

Greenwood and her squad are looking forward to State. “Petersburg won last year, and Craig the year before. It’s always a tough tournament. We are working on some small but critical things in preparation for state, but we are definitely excited for what’s ahead of us and have high hopes for success.”

She was delighted with the crowd at home. “It was exciting to see the rooting section and school spirit at our tournament”, she said. “It made a big difference, and we want to thank everyone for their support.”

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Dick Shellhorn
Dick Shellhorn is a lifelong Cordovan. He has been writing sports stories for the Cordova Times for over 50 years. In his Cordova Chronicles features, he writes about the history and characters of this Alaska town. Alaska Press Club awarded Shellhorn first place for Best Humor column in 2016 and 2020, and third place in 2017 and 2019. He also received second place for Best Editorial Commentary in 2019. Shellhorn has written two books about Alaska adventures: Time and Tide and Balls and Stripes. Reach him at [email protected].