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Area volleyball teams ready to chase state berths

This weekend at conference volleyball tournaments, Kenai Peninsula schools will seek spots at the state tournament at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage from Nov. 11 to 13.

Soldotna, a Class 4A school, will play in the Northern Lights Conference tournament at Palmer today, Friday and Saturday.

Class 3A schools Kenai Central, Nikiski, Seward and Homer will play in the Southcentral Conference tournament Friday and Saturday at Redington Sr. Jr/Sr High School.

At the NLC tournament, the top three of the five schools will qualify for state.

The Stars, who open up today with a 3 p.m. game against Wasilla, are seeking their fourth straight berth to state, with last year’s state tournament canceled due to the pandemic.

Soldotna comes in at 0-8 in the league and 3-13 overall, but coach Luke Baumer has said his team is peaking at the right time.

Kenai Central will be the favorite at the Southcentral Tournament. The Kards are 15-0 in nontournament play and 10-0 in the league. Kenai, the No. 1 seed out of the South, opens with a 9 a.m. game Friday against Anchorage Christian Schools, which is No. 4 out of the North.

There are two automatic state berths available at the tournament, but the third-place match will be important as well. The winner of that match is eligible for an at-large berth to state.

The Kards finished runner-up at Class 3A state in 2019 before a juggernaut of a team did not get a chance to compete at state last season.

Homer is 10-2 and 7-2, with the only losses coming to Kenai. The Mariners, No. 2 out of the South, play Houston, No. 3 from the North, at noon Friday. Homer has made two straight trips to state, including winning the 3A title in 2019. The Mariners also are the defending conference champions.

Seward will be the third seed out of the South. The Seahawks come into the tournament at 5-4 in the league and 6-5 overall. Seward will seek its first state berth since 2016. The Seahawks play Redington, No. 2 from the North, at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Nikiski, at 1-7 and 1-10 overall, is fourth out of the South. The Bulldogs draw Grace Christian, No. 1 from the North, at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Nikiski has been to state four straight years, taking a Class 3A state title in 2018 and a runner-up finish in 2016.

Northern Lights Conference tournament

at Palmer High School

Thursday’s games

Game 1 — Wasilla vs. Soldotna, 3 p.m.

Game 2 — Kodiak vs. Palmer, 5 p.m.

Game 3 — Colony vs. Game 1 winner

Friday’s games

Game 4 — Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 3 p.m.

Game 5 — Game 4 winner vs. Game 3 loser, 5 p.m.

Game 6 — Game 3 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s games

Game 7 — Game 6 loser vs. Game 5 winner, 10 a.m.

Championship — Game 7 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 1 p.m.

If-Necessary game — If Game 6 winner loses Championship, 3 p.m.

Southcentral Conference tournament

at Redington Sr. Jr/Sr High School

Friday’s games

Game 1 — Kenai vs. ACS, 9 a.m.

Game 2 — Redington vs. Seward, 10:30 a.m.

Game 3 — Homer vs. Houston, noon

Game 4 — Grace vs. Nikiski, 1:30 p.m.

Game 5 — Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 3 p.m.

Game 6 — Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 4:30 p.m.

Game 7 — Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 8 — Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s games

Game 9 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 8 loser, 10:30 a.m.

Game 10 — Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 loser, 9 a.m.

Third-place game — Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 1 p.m.

Championship — Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 2:30 p.m.

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