Kenai Central’s Emma Beck attacks Nikiski’s Evelyn Reichert on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Emma Beck attacks Nikiski’s Evelyn Reichert on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai defeats Nikiski in Killing Cancer on the Kenai match

The host Kenai Central volleyball team defeated Nikiski 25-21, 25-17, 20-25 and 25-17 on Tuesday in Southcentral Conference action.

The match was the Killing Cancer on the Kenai Fundraiser. The match typically raises money for an area family or families battling cancer.

This year, a pasta dinner, split the pot, silent auction and class contest to collect change raised an unofficial, preliminary estimate of $13,500 for Matty Bowers, who is battling colon cancer.

“It never ceases to amaze me — the heart of this community,” Kenai Central head coach Tracie Beck said. “Every year, I’m just blown away.”

Beck said Bowers is the sister of Misty Hamilton, the head secretary at Kenai Central, and sister-in-law of Jeremy Hamilton, the fire marshal at the Kenai Fire Department who is heavily involved in supporting athletics at Kenai. Misty and Jeremy’s daughter, Kailey, played volleyball for the Kardinals.

“They’re all just amazing people that are a huge part of this community,” Beck said. “You never know how these are going to turn out.

“Our community came together and raised over $13,000. Isn’t that crazy?”

Beck credited the board of the volleyball booster club for making the event happen.

“Those women are the ones who took it and ran with it,” Beck said.

The match turned out well for the Kardinals too.

At 10-0, Kenai wrapped up a third straight undefeated run through the conference regular season. The Kards also improved to 12-1 in nontournament play. Nikiski fell to 6-2 and 12-6. 

Before the match, Nikiski middle blocker Ashlynne Playle reaggravated an ankle injury and couldn’t play.

“It’s not good, but the team has done really good about facing adversity and has done really well with the rotation we have,” Nikiski head coach Stacey Segura said. “We have Alexa (Iyatunguk) as the middle so it’s not something that’s unfamiliar to us.

“She played middle last year.”

In the first game, Kenai started behind, but came back to take a 20-16 lead on a Nikiski hitting error. Nikiski would cut it to 21-19 on a Kenai hitting error and 23-21 on an Iyatunguk kill.

However, Nikiski missed a serve, then Kenai’s Grace Beiser ended the game with an ace.

Beck said her squad had 29 hitting errors and 13 service errors in the match. She said that’s too many points to give anybody, especially Nikiski.

The coach said the positive is Kenai was able to prevail in the big moments of the match.

“What I love about them is their grit,” Beck said. “They just hunker down.

“I don’t know how you can make that many hitting errors and still survive, but they did.”

In the second game, Kenai thrived, winning 25-17 by getting game point on a Beiser kill.

Segura was not happy with the passing of her defense. She said Kenai’s attack was a bit quicker than recent opponents, so that may have been the problem.

“They just kind of didn’t show up tonight,” she said. “I think had they been there and our passes are a little bit more solid to start our offense, tonight might have turned out differently.

“I think our hitters were ready to hit and eager to hit. We had a game plan about how we wanted to face Kenai’s defense.”

The Bulldogs were able to win Game 3. Nikiski also took a game off Kenai in a Sept. 14 match.

“Quite frankly, every time we play them, we get a game off them,” Segura said. “So I’m quite over it. I’d rather move on and get another game off them.”

In the fourth game, Ellsi Miller served out four straight points for Kenai for an 18-10 lead that was more than enough to seal the match.

Emma Beck had 30 kills and 17 digs for the Kardinals, while Jaycie Castillo had 44 digs, Kate Wisnewski had 52 assists and 15 digs, Avia Miller had seven kills, Camilla Gonzalez had three aces, Beiser had 17 digs and six kills, Ellsi Miller had five kills and Sophie Tapley had five kills.

Segura said Maggie Grenier, who had 18 digs, 14 assists and two aces, had a really nice match for the Bulldogs.

Also, Zoey Ellis had 10 kills, Iyatunguk had seven blocks, Avery Ellis had 21 digs, 11 assists and two aces, Evelyn Reichert had 18 digs and two aces, Kailey Stynsberg had 23 digs and Mandee Roofe had seven kills and four blocks.

Kenai Central’s Avia Miller and Grace Beiser put up a block on Nikiski’s Mandee Roofe on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Avia Miller and Grace Beiser put up a block on Nikiski’s Mandee Roofe on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Zoey Ellis puts up a block on Kenai Central’s Sophia Tapley on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Zoey Ellis puts up a block on Kenai Central’s Sophia Tapley on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Evelyn Reichert digs up a ball against Kenai Central on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Evelyn Reichert digs up a ball against Kenai Central on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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