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Unalakleet, Shishmaref Compete At State Volleyball Tournament

Shishmaref, in black and white uniforms, takes on Gustavus, across the net, in red and black

The Unalakleet Wolfpack and Shishmaref Northern Lights volleyball teams headed to Anchorage last weekend to compete in the State Mixed-Six Tournament.

Unalakleet faced two tough teams straight away, and after two losses to Tanalian and Nikolaevsk, the Wolfpack was forced out.

Shishmaref had more success, making it to the quarterfinals. After a loss there, the Northern Lights lost to Tanalian in the fourth-place match.

Shishmaref coach Shaun Milligan says it was a close fight against an excellent team.

“We dropped the first two sets to a good Tanalian team, and I told them that this might be the last one of the year and that they had to go out there and lay it all out. And they did a really good job. They took the next two sets and almost had a comeback. And I think the atmosphere in the gym reflected what an amazing game that was.”

Shishmaref last made it to state 14 years ago. Milligan says his team got a confidence boost from playing against so many great teams:

“It was great to have the experience of knowing you deserved to be at state. From last year, when we didn’t get to state, to this year, when we were one of the top four teams playing for the state title, was quite a change. And I think the players handled it well.”

More Bering Strait School District athletes will be heading to Anchorage for a state competition next weekend. Seven wrestlers from Gambell, Koyuk, Shaktoolik, and Stebbins qualified for the State Wrestling Tournament, which will take place on December 15th and 16th at the Alaska Airlines Center.

Image at top: The Shishmaref Northern Lights mixed-six volleyball team takes on Gustavus at the 2017 Mixed-Six State Tournament. (Photo courtesy of Esther Iyatunguk.)