Kayhi volleyball is on its third coach in four years, but the coaching carousel might just stop with Kevin Johnson. Johnson was hired in June after previous coach of two years Beth Sandefur left to go coach the Schoenbar Middle School volleyball team. Kayhi last won a Region V title in 2015, that team was lead by Kevin Johnson’s daughter, Kreylyn Johnson who was a junior, but it seems longer after four near winless seasons. Johnson wanted to coach because he thought the team needed to reach their full potential as well as putting in the effort that it takes while having fun. “The program needed a coach who had some energy and that could get our girls to a higher level of playing,” said Johnson. “It’s to get the kids committed to understanding you have to work to win you can’t just show up and get lucky and I think the other part to that is that I want our kids to leave with a good experience” Johnson has coached both boys and girls in basketball and volleyball and it’s his twenty third year of coaching. “I’ve coached both this is my twenty-third year as a coach so I’ve been at it for a while, I’ve coached both genders,” said Johnson. “Girls you know you can coach hard, you can coach girls hard, you can push them you can drive them you can do all those things but the difference between males and females in coaching them is their ability to deal with what they internalize. With girls its a building progress but once they get there it’s over,” emphasized Johnson. Senior Captain, Mackenzie Merrill has had three different coaches her four years of high school volleyball. Not having the same coach for more than two years has taken its toll on Merrill. “It is definitely one of the biggest downfalls I struggled with as a player. Not being able to make a true connection with a coach was really hard,” said Merril. Merril said that the team has had big leaps from last season to this season with Kevin Johnson. “The biggest shift from last year to this year would probably be bringing in a new coach who wants to change the volleyball community in Ketchikan. He’s not only here to keep volleyball going but to make it a great program,” said Merril. Merril thinks that the team connects perfectly with Kevin Johnson. “I think we fit right in with Kevin Johnson. He is a coach who pushes and pushes until we reach our full potential. Even if that’s us slowly gaining progress or us losing our confidence he is right there to pick us up and show us what a team is,” said Merril. Merrill is confident in what Kevin Johnson and the team can accomplish in the future. “I know for a fact Kevin Johnson is going to lead this team to a region win and possibly a state win,” said Merril.
The Lady Kings won their first home game in 2 years over the past weekend. On Friday night the Lady Kings lost (3-2) and Saturday night the Kings won (3-1). Senior Erika Rauwolf was proud of how the seniors played this weekend. “It was a good weekend of games. I thought I did pretty good of locking into the game and being focused, Mady had an amazing weekend of hitting and Mackenzie did a great job setting for us,” said Rauwolf. “It feels good to have two wins in our back pocket, it’s a couple more wins than we’ve had in the past couple years.” Kayhi JV2 and JV also played this weekend.
Friday: (L) Kayhi JV2 vs Met JV (25-22 (Kayhi), 25-18 (Met), 15-12 (Met))(W) Kayhi JV vs Met JV (25-10 (Kayhi), 25-14 (Kayhi), 25-10 (Kayhi)) (L) Kayhi V vs Met V ( 25-19 (Met), 26-24 (Met), 25-20 (Kayhi), 25-15 (Kayhi), 15-14 (Met))
Saturday: Kayhi V vs Met V (25-19 (Met), 25-15 (Kayhi), 25-19 (Kayhi), 27-25 (Kayhi))
The Lady Kings volleyball team is playing the Klawock Chieftains and the Metlakatla Lady Braves this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Although Klawock and Metlakatla are a 1A and 2A team, senior captain Erika Rauwolf does not think these games should be taken lightly. “Klawock is a good team, they are a very put together team with talent, they play almost year round, same with Met.” Said Rauwolf. “We need to go into these games with a positive attitude looking for another win.”
Thursday: 5:30 PM Kayhi V vs Klawock V
Friday: 5:00 PM Kayhi JV vs Met JV 7:00 PM Kayhi V vs Met V
Saturday: 11:00 AM Kayhi JV2 vs Met JV 1:00 PM Kayhi V vs Met V
The Lady Kings volleyball team won their first game of the season last Friday night against the Craig Lady Panthers. Senior captain and starting setter Mackenzie Merril was excited about their first win. “This win was very important. It shows how much we’ve grown. I remember looking around at my teammates on the court and I thought to myself, wow, look how far we’ve come,” said Merril. Senior co-captain Madison Purcell also thought this win was huge for the team. “We developed as a team and finally pulled through and won a full set of games. We now know how it feels to earn a win, and it’s time to get stronger and smarter to feel that feeling again,” said Purcell.
Thursday: Ketchikan vs Craig (L) (25-15, 25-12, 25-15) (Best of 5)
Friday: Ketchikan vs Craig (25-21 (Craig), 25-23 (Kayhi), 25-18 (Kayhi), 25-18 (Craig), 18-16 (Kayhi)) (Best of 5)
The Lady Kings head to Craig to play the Lady Panthers this Thursday and Friday night. The previous week the Lady Kings lost to the Panthers at home in a close set of games. Senior, Erika Rauwolf hopes to get a win this weekend. “I think that this weekend of games is much needed. We need to start rolling, regions is coming up and it’d be nice to get our first win this weekend,” said Rauwolf. “We are getting better at keeping our attitudes up and staying together even when we are losing, which is hard at times.”
The Kayhi Lady Kings went winless this weekend at home against Thunder Mountain and Craig. This weekend of games were a “Roller Coaster” as said by senior captain Mackenzie Merril. On Friday, the Lady Kings went in dominating the Criag Panthers but lost in the last set by a point given up from a invalid sub in. That loss followed the Lady Kings onto the next game and resulted in them losing to Thunder Mountain 3-0. “We went in kicking butt against Craig but just couldn’t seal the deal and win over all. Not winning that game made him [Kevin Johnson] upset and the teams emotions started to fall a part,” said Merril. “We were out of control of everything.” Saturday night was a turn around for the Lady Kings. “Those games were amazing. We came together and had our energy up. The team felt amazing seeing Kevin smiling and everyone cheering for us,” said Merril. “Having all those people [Crowd] there made such a difference.”
Friday (L) Kayhi JV vs Craig JV (L) Kayhi V vs Craig V (25-23 (Kayhi), 25-17 (Craig), 25-22(Craig)) (Best of 3) (L) Kayhi JV2 vs TMHS C (L) Kayhi JV vs TMHS JV (L) Kayhi V vs TMHS V (25-8, 25-11, 25-11)
Saturday TMHS JV vs Criag JV (TMHS 4-1) TMHS V vs CRAIG V (TMHS 3-0) (L) Kayhi JV2 vs TMHS C (L) Kayhi JV vs TMHS JV (L) Kayhi V vs TMHS V (25-17, 25-20, 25-13)
The Kayhi Lady Kings volleyball team will be hosting the Thunder Mountain Falcons and the Craig Panthers this Friday and Saturday. Senior captain, Erika Rauwolf is excited to play her second set of home games. “I’m looking forward to be playing at home again as well as hopefully getting our first win” said Rauwolf.
Friday 1:00 PM Kayhi JV vs Craig JV (Best of 3) 2:15 PM Kayhi V vs Craig V 3:45 PM Kayhi JV2 vs TMHS C 5:15 PM Kayhi JV vs TMHS JV 7:00 PM Kayhi V vs TMHS V
Saturday 11:00 AM TMHS JV vs Criag JV (Best of 3) 12:15 PM TMHi V vs CRAIG V 1:45 PM Kayhi JV2 vs TMHS C 3:15 PM Kayhi JV vs TMHS JV 5:00 PM Kayhi V vs TMHS V
The Lady Kings volleyball team returned home with only one JV win after a weekend of games in Sitka. Although varsity came back winless they were more consistent with the outcome of the games. Senior Erika Rauwolf was not happy with the outcome of the Round Robin. “I really thought these games were going to be different, I thought we were going to get a win there, but we didn’t,” said Rauwolf. “It only shows us how much more improvement we have to do by the time the region tournament starts.”
Thursday (L) Kayhi V vs Mount Edgecumbe V (25-18, 26-24)
Friday Kayhi JV vs Sitka Wolves JV (L) Kayhi V vs Sitka V (26-16, 25-13, 25-12)
Saturday (L) Kayhi V vs Anchorage V ((25-18 (win), 26-24 (loss), 25-15 (loss), 25-9 (loss)) (L) Kayhi V vs Sitka Wolves (25-18, 25-15, 25-17) (L) Kayhi V vs MEHS (25-17, 25-17, 25-19)
The Kayhi Lady Kings (0-4) travel to Sitka this Thursday for a four-team round robin. Despite being winless, senior Madison Purcell is very confident after challenging Thunder Mountain. “Now that we know we are able to compete with the best team in southeast [Thunder Mountain], we are very excited to hopefully get some easy wins in Sitka,” said Purcell. Purcell is happy with where the team is at right now and is excited for what’s to come. “We are not only in a good place, but we have some new plays up our sleeves and we are so excited to get to run them. We are excited to show these teams what we’re here to do,” ciaimed Purcell.
Thursday Kayhi vs Mount Edgecumbe 7:30 p.m. (Best of 5)
Friday Kayhi vs MEHS 4 p.m. (Best of 3) Kayhi vs Sitka 7 p.m. (Best of 5)
Saturday Kayhi vs Anchorage Christian 1 p.m (Best of 5) Kayhi vs Sitka 4 p.m. (Best of 5) Kayhi vs MEHS 7 p.m. (Best of 5)
A trip to the state tournament is on the line as the Kayhi Kings volleyball team (16-10) heads to Regions in Juneau this weekend.
The Lady Kings enter the tournament second seed. They play Thunder Mountain tonight at 4pm.
Last season the Lady Kings entered as the top-seed but fell in a heart-breaker to Juneau in the championship match.