Homer volleyball season ended by Kotzebue

Stubbornness and tenacity earned the Homer volleyball team a spot at the Class 3A state tournament. Upon arrival, however, that dogged approach could only carry them so far.

A day after losing a first-round match against Valdez, it was Kotzebue that defeated Homer 3-1 in the second-chance bracket Friday at the Alaska Airlines Arena with scores of 25-19, 20-25, 25-10 and 25-18, putting and end to the Mariners season.

For Homer coach Pam Rugloski, the shortcoming of failing to win a state match ultimately came down to the Mariners’ opponents simply communicating and executing more effectively.

“We ended up mixing things up a little bit, and the chemistry wasn’t quite there,” Rugloski said.

The loss ended Homer’s state run and the high school volleyball careers of PK Woo, Kelly Liebers, McKi Needham and Paige Snyder.

Junior outside hitter Mary Hana Bowe led Homer with eight kills and eight digs, Snyder added seven kills and six digs and Woo notched six kills.

Also, Malina Fellows had four kills, Izabelle Hagge notched 14 digs and Needham recorded 21 assists, three blocks and eight digs without a service error.

Homer found itself trailing 15-9 in the early minutes of the match, and having to dig out of a hole at a state event has proven to be a much more difficult task, and the Mariners fell into a 1-0 hole.

But that scrappiness and determination that made Homer into the team it is over the season began to peak through. The Mariners came roaring back in the second set by scoring the first 10 points, getting numerous tips to the floor while taking advantage of several Kotzebue balls going out of bounds.

“Out of those four sets, I can only remember one point that we were solid and tuned in,” Rugloski said. “When you’re up, you have to keep pushing as hard as you can.”

However, as quick as Homer was to stake out a daunting lead, the Huskies were just as quick to rally back, rapidly cutting the lead back to 10-8, then tying it up at 11-all. The Mariners managed to stretch the lead back to 19-14, forcing Kotzebue to call a timeout.

The break seemed to give Kotzebue new life, as clutch play on the front line led to a myriad of balls batted down to Homer territory, which led to the Huskies tying the set up again at 20 apiece.

Still, Homer took the set with five unanswered service points to win 25-20 and knot the match up at 1-1.

Kotzebue grabbed a 10-3 lead in the third set, then stretched it to 18-6 before Rugloski decided to call timeout. The break did little as the Huskies finished up with a 7-2 run to win the set and take a 2-1 match lead, thanks to a ragged consistency that Homer assistant coach Beth Trowbridge, who guided the Mariners to their first state berth in 11 years last season, pointed out.

“They just kept the ball in play,” Trowbridge said. “And we had a lot of errors.”

With both team’s seasons on the line, Kotzebue triumphed with a clean fourth set to advance to the loser-out bracket quarterfinal round.

In the moments after the match, when looking at the overall picture of the three-month season, Rugloski pointed out that many of the players expected to return will form a solid nucleus for 2016 and beyond.

“Raisa (Basargin) will be our main setter next year, so it’s good for someone like her to come back and realize that it’s not a big deal,” Rugloski said. “You’ve just got to play your game.”

More in Sports

Soldotna's Wayne Mellon works to a pin of Kenai Central's Zoticus Active at 189 pounds in a dual meet at Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi wrestling honors seniors in matchup with Kenai

Thanksgiving weekend gives many the opportunity to see family. The holiday gave… Continue reading

tease
Strausbaugh, Hippchen take Turkey Skate

Soldotna hosted Kenai Central for the Turkey Skate at Tsalteshi Trails on… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Sawyer Vann controls Nikiski's Wyatt Maguire at 125 pounds Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. Vann notched a 7-6 victory. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Area wrestlers collect mat time before Thanksgiving break

Area wrestlers got in some mat time Tuesday before the Thanksgiving break.… Continue reading

Assistant coach Taylor Shaw leads the Kenai River Brown Bears during a game Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears start search for new head coach

The Kenai River Brown Bears issued a press release Friday about staff… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Bryce Monrean tries to find a way through the defense of the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues during a first-period power play Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Jr. Blues come back to take series from Bears

The Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues lost not only a 2020-21 season to… Continue reading

Soldotna junior Liam Babitt holds a grip on South Anchorage’s Britten Hamilton during the 215-pound final of the Lancer Smith Fall Varsity 2021 Invite on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 at the Menard Arena in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Soldotna crowns 4 champions at Lancer Smith

The Soldotna wrestling team finished fourth Friday and Saturday at the Lancer… Continue reading

tease
Hockey roundup: SoHi sweeps in Kodiak; West wins End of Road tourney

The Soldotna hockey team swept Kodiak in the first high school games… Continue reading

A brown bear feeds on a salmon. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Bears, uniquely built to respond to winter

With the new snow and temperatures dipping into the single digits, you… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Caden Warren surveys the ice against West at the End of the Road Tournament at Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Kenai, Homer hockey lose to open tourney

The Kenai Central and Homer hockey teams both opened the End of… Continue reading

Caden Triggs of the Kenai River Brown Bears celebrates his first-period goal against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears topple Jr. Blues

By JEFF HELMINIAK Peninsula Clarion The Kenai River Brown Bears received two… Continue reading

Michael proposes to Sarah at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Falling in love one snowflake at a time

Do you want to know what I’ve been looking forward to the… Continue reading