Kodiak drew a favorable side of the state volleyball championship bracket.
The Bears open at 3:15 p.m. Thursday against Cook Inlet Conference third-seed Chugiak. The Mustangs receive a boost by playing on their home court.
The winner advances to play either Mid-Alaska Conference champion West Valley or CIC runner-up South Anchorage at 7 p.m. the same day. The loser drops to a loser-out contest against either West Valley or South Anchorage at 1 p.m. Friday.
Kodiak dropped one set to Chugiak in a best-of-three match at the Service/Dimond Tournament three weeks ago.
The two teams that have beaten Kodiak this season — Dimond and Palmer — are on the opposite side of the bracket, and the Bears would not see them until Friday’s winners’ bracket final.
CIC champion and defending state champion Dimond opens with Northern Lights Conference third-seed Colony, while NLC runner-up Palmer plays Southeast Conference champion Juneau-Douglas. The winners of both matches meet at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, while the losers collide at 11 a.m. Friday.
This is Kodiak’s sixth state tournament appearance — third straight — and only the second time the team has entered as the Northern Lights Conference champion. The Bears beat Palmer on Saturday to claim their first regional title since 1996.
Earlier the tournament, Palmer handed Kodiak its first best-of-5 loss of the season — the Bears are 17-1 in those matches. The Bears’ other two losses came against Dimond in best-of-three matches in tournament finals.
Dimond, which has won four of the past five state titles, swept South Anchorage to claim the CIC title on Saturday.
The state championship uses a true double-elimination format where a team can come through the losers’ bracket to win the title. The championship match is 6 p.m. Saturday with the “if necessary” set to 30 points slated for 7:45 p.m.
Kodiak has lost eight straight state championship matches after placing a school-best third in 1996.
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Game 1 — West Valley (MAC No. 1) vs. South Anchorage (CIC No. 2), 1:30 p.m.
Game 2 — Kodiak (NLC No. 1) vs. Chugiak (CIC No. 3), 3:15 p.m.
Game 3 — Dimond (CIC No. 1) vs. Colony (NLC No. 3), 11:45 a.m.
Game 4 — Juneau-Douglas (SEC No. 1) vs. Palmer (NLC No. 2), 10 a.m.
Game 5 — Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 7 p.m.
Game 6 — Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 5:15 p.m.
Game 7 — Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 11 a.m. (loser out)
Game 8 — Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 1 p.m. (loser out)
Game 9 — Game 5 loser vs. Game 7 winner, 3 p.m. (loser out)
Game 10 — Game 6 loser vs. Game 8 winner, 5 p.m. (loser out)
Game 11 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 7 p.m.
Game 12 — Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 10 a.m. (loser out)
Game 13 — Game 11 loser vs. Game 12 winner, noon (loser out)
Game 14 — Game 11 winner vs. Game 13 winner, 6 p.m. (championship)
Game 15 — “If necessary” game to 30 points if it is Game 14’s first loss.