Defending champion Lady Bucs heading to state tourney as favorites
Valdez hopes to win back to back championships in Anchorage this week
Photo courtesy Ron Langseth
The Lady Buccaneers won the regional championships last week and are going to the state championships this week - as defending 3A champs.
The Lady Buccaneers are heading to Anchorage this week as defending state volleyball champions after taking the regional title last week.
Valdez will see its first action Thursday at 11:30 a.m. - and coach Ron Langseth says the Lady Bucs have what it takes to go straight to the top.
"We played Kotzebue, which is a very game team," he said Monday before the team's after-school practice at the Valdez High School gym.
He said Kotzebue is a very capable, spunky team and Valdez will need to bring its A-game to stay in the running for the statewide tournament.
"They are a very good team and every team there has an opportunity to do their best," he said.
If the Lady Bucs prevail against Kotzebue, they will move up to play against the winner in the formidable match up between Mt. Edgecumbe and Grace Christian.
The team will need to bring the same focus and skill to the state tournament - and more - that the girls showed during the regional championships to keep in the running.
"It's tricky being number one because everyone wants to do their best," Langseth said. "Everyone wants to beat the champions."
The Lady Buccaneers dispatched Delta early in last week's regional games according to Langseth.
"We dispatched them in three," he said. "It was good."
The team knew it would only get tougher as Valdez moved up the ladder.
"We assumed we would play Monroe," the coach said, which proved to be a challenge for the Lady Bucs. " That game, you know, we started off really well, really fast, we were aggressive."
Last year, the Lady Bucs bested the Lady Rams of Monroe Catholic for the 2015 championship - and the team was hoping to redeem its standing this year by beating the Lady Bucs in regionals.
He partially credited the Valdez team's "relentless attitude" for putting Monroe on it's heels.
Monroe did not sit back and lick their wounds.
"They had to fight their way back from the losers bracket," Langseth said. "They were really hungry, they really wanted to beat us."
He said Monroe's determination was great - but the girls from Valdez wanted it more. The Lady Bucs let Monroe slide ahead in the second of three sets in the championship game, but bounced back because they worked as a unit - even as they brought in players from the bench.
"They didn't fall apart, they took care of each other really well," he said. The girls did a great job, staying really motivated. Communicated well with great energy."
Kaylee MacDonald, Jane Sharrai, Hali Baczuk and Linnea Langseth were named to the All-Conference team.
Bobbi Mott was named the Most Valuable Player.
Valdez Star file photo
Coach Ron Langseth sitting back and observing the Lady Bucs during a warm-up session at Valdez High School earlier this season.
"We have five players on the (All-conference) team - which is pretty exceptional," the coach said.
He summed up the season and regional games humbly.
"You know, it was a great opportunity for the girls to get into the end of their season and shake things up," he said.
As for the team's chances of winning the championship this week?
That is up to the Lady Buccaneers, he said.