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CIA volleyball splits matches at Lumen

Staff report

The Cook Inlet Academy volleyball team finished up its regular season by splitting a pair of matches at Lumen Christi in Anchorage on Saturday.

In the first match, the Eagles won 19-25, 25-11, 18-25, 26-24 and 17-15. In the second match, CIA lost 25-19, 25-20, 19-25, 17-25 and 16-14.

“Those teams were so incredibly evenly matched,” Cook Inlet Academy coach Brittany Liles said. “I’m extremely proud of the girls. Even being down 2-0, they didn’t quite win, but they got so close.”

Liles said the Academy played very well as a team, but special credit goes to seniors Genna Nelson and Evelyn Jackson. Leah Dillingham, the team’s other setter along with Nelson, also had a solid match.

CIA was coming off a Thursday victory in its final home match of the season. On a night the Eagles topped Ninilchik 25-21, 25-13 and 25-18, CIA honored seniors Jackson and Nelson.

“We were passing well and had some great hits and even a couple of blocks,” Liles said. “It all came together in a pretty package.”

Thursday was Ninilchik’s final match of the season. The Wolverines lost twice to Homer JV before Thursday.

Elise Spofford, who coached the team along with Etta Mill, said her team progressed a lot despite the challenges presented by the new coronavirus pandemic. The Wolverines had to wear masks in the final match against the Eagles.

“What I admire most of all was the positive attitude all the way through,” Spofford said. “Everyone was so supportive on and off the court. I’m so appreciative to have worked with a group of ladies of that caliber.”

Spofford also thanked principal Jeff Ambrosier for doing what it took to make the matches happen.

The Wolverines honored seniors Rachael Okonek and Fiona DenBoer at Thursday’s match.

CIA had started its season with an Oct. 16 tournament at Birchwood Christian. The event also included Glennallen. Liles said it was a tough tournament because the Eagles were still coming together as a team.

On Oct. 30 and Nov. 6, the Eagles were swept at home by Birchwood.

There will be no state tournament, so CIA’s season is set to end Friday and Saturday with a region tournament at Lumen Christi.

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