PALMER — The Soldotna Stars have spent their preseason working to fill the void left by losses from the 2016 starting lineup.
Despite opening the season with a 3-0 (23-25, 15-25, 23-25) loss to the Colony Knights on Thursday in Palmer, Soldotna head coach Shelia Kupferschmid is optimistic.
“I like what I saw tonight,” Kupferschmid said after the loss. “We’ve got some youth. We’re missing some starters from last year.
“We’re having to mix some kids around to different positions. It’ll take a little bit.”
Soldotna used a late push to try to force a fourth set during the loss to Colony, the defending Northern Lights Conference champions. Colony senior Eve Stephens, the 2016 NLC Player of the Year, knocked down consecutive kills to give the Knights a 23-17 lead. But Kodi McGillivray capped a four-point run with the kill to pull the Stars back within reach.
“I saw some really good things,” Kupferschmid said.
Shaylynn Zener pulled the Stars within a point late, but Stephens cemented the win for the Knights with a final kill.
McGillivray led the Stars with eight games in the match, that counts as a nonconference contest on the schedule. Aliann Schmidt added seven kills and three blocks.
Zener finished with four digs.
“I think the more we play together, I think we’re going to be tough,” Kupferschmid said.