After the opening day at the Class 3A state volleyball tournament in Anchorage, both Peninsula teams were relegated to the second-chance consolation bracket.
Homer split a pair of games Thursday, while Nikiski lost its lone game, meaning both teams will have to stay perfect if they want to have a shot at Saturday’s championship game.
Nikiski was swept by Mt. Edgecumbe, losing with scores of 25-13, 25-11 and 25-16.
With the loss, the Bulldogs were sorted into a matchup today against Barrow, 11 a.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center.
Nikiski will have to win four games between Friday and Saturday to have a shot at the 3A state championship.
Homer — the newly crowned Southcentral Conference champs — began Thursday with a three-game sweep over Nome, winning with scores of 25-10, 25-11 and 25-12, putting the Mariners into the quarterfinal round.
“We just came out really strong, we served tough from the get-go,” said Homer coach Beth Trowbridge. “We gained confidence early, and things were clicking for us. Nome just couldn’t take it away from us.”
Larsen Fellows was awarded player of the game, recording seven kills. Teammate Kyla Pitzman had eight kills, Jane Rohr notched six kills, Maryhana Bowe put up six aces, Maggie Larue had 10 digs and four aces, and McKi Needham provided 29 assists.
Later, in the quarterfinal match, Homer was swept by Monroe Catholic with scores of 25-23, 25-19 and 25-21. Trowbridge said she thought the key difference was Homer’s struggle with passing, adding that the change in venue from the Wells Fargo Complex to the Alaska Airlines Arena may have played a role.
“We didn’t play like we could,” Trowbridge said. “We couldn’t find a good rhythm, we played nervous and stiff and had trouble stringing together points.”
The Rams had also just finished off a 3-0 sweep of defending state champion Grace Christian earlier in the day.
Against Monroe, Larue notched seven digs, helping her to the player of the game award. Needham helped out with 18 assists, Rohr had seven kills and a pair of blocks, Fellows had five kills, Pitzman added four kills, and Malina Fellows had three aces.
Trowbridge said Monroe’s tough serving also played a big role, as the Mariners lost a number of points on unreturned balls.
“We have to keep playing like we’re right in there with all the teams,” Trowbridge said. “There’s no reason we can’t fight our way through it. We’re 1-1 right now, so we feel pretty good about that.”
Homer will play 3 p.m. Friday at the Alaska Airlines Center against the winner of a morning match between Nikiski and Barrow.
“We feel OK about either of those matchups,” Trowbridge added.