King Cove Rookies claim the Silverboot
Melrose Ceballos opened the final match of the Silverboot Tournament on Saturday with a belting rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. Ceballos, who plays volleyball for the Sandpoint Eagles, was not to be competing for the Silverboot trophy this time. The final match of the tournament would be between the Bristol Bay Lady Angels and King Cove Rookies.
The Silverboot Tournament, held at the Bristol Bay Borough School campus, brought varsity and junior varsity teams together for a three days of intense volleyball action. Bristol Bay hosted teams from Dillingham, Togiak, Sand Point, Aleknagik, New Stuyahok, Manokotak and King Cove, putting the coveted Silverboot up for grabs. Preliminary matches got underway Thursday, and the double elimination narrowed the competition to Saturday's two final teams.
Friday night, the Bristol Bay Lady Angels honored the senior members of their team, following their win over Sand Point. Katrina Tarino, Kiera Tretikoff and Brenda Dube (Taylor Meyers was not present) received roses to symbolize the last home competition of their high school volleyball careers. The ladies then presented a rose to each member of their attended family in a show of gratitude for the support given to them.
"It's emotional. I've been here all my life, it's going to be hard leaving here, but how this is going, I'm happy that this is going to be my last home game," said Kierra Tretikoff.
The final day of the tournament started early with matches between Sand Point and Manokotak, then Togiak versus Aleknagik. The defending Silverboot champion Dillingham Wolverines lost to the New Stuyahok Eagles Saturday evening, then the Eagles fell to Bristol Bay.
The King Cove Rookies battled the Bristol Bay Angels in a suspense-filled, three-game pairing in Saturday's final matchup. The Rookies emerged victorious over the hometown Angels and to claim the Silverboot; a rubber rain boot decorated each year by the tournament's winning team.
"They did well," King Cove head coach Gary Lamar said of his Rookies. "They're starting to catch on mentally, which is the most important part of any volleyball strategies. It goes beyond skills or any type of strength measures you might have."
And of this year's competition?
"I tell you what, that Bristol Bay was a quality team. They were well-coached and just a bunch of good girls out there," said Lamar. "I loved playing against them, they're a very aggressive team and they're very good, along with these other teams we had to play. Dillingham, they had a real good team. Dillingham was missing a couple of their players, which would have helped them out tremendously, but they still had a real good team and made a wonderful performance today."
Medals were also awarded to outstanding individual players during the competition, including Abbey and Denali Whitcomb from Dillingham and Madison Desoto of Bristol Bay. The Togiak Huskies were the recipients of the Sportsmanship Award, given to a team that displays a positive attitude and team spirit throughout the competition.
Coach Lamar doesn't quite know what to make of his team's winning trophy.
"Yeah, they got this sparkly boot. I'm from Texas. I see a water boot and I'm from the Chihuahuan Desert, so that water boot, I've never seen too many of them things, and then when they go to painting it like that? I don't really know what to think about all these folks, but I love them."