The Kenai Central volleyball team continued to flaunt a strong home floor presence at Cliff Massie Court in Kenai Tuesday night with a three-game sweep over nonconference opponent Seward.
Kenai won with scores of 25-17, 25-18 and 25-10.
“We definitely need a break, all of us do,” said Kenai coach Tracie Beck. The Kardinals play at Homer Thursday evening, but then will not be back in action until Oct. 9 against Soldotna.
“That will help rejuvenate us and get us ready to push through to the end of the season.”
Kenai improved to 4-3 overall outside of tournament play in 2015, while Seward dropped to 0-5 overall.
A strong service game propelled the Kards to the win in all three sets, as Emily Koziczkowski and Abby Beck cobbled together strings of serves that the smaller Seward team could not handle. Beck ended with 11 kills, 19 digs and four aces, while Koziczkowski had seven serve aces, seven blocks and three aces.
“Emily has so much potential, and she’s a hard-working kid,” Beck said. “She was nailing it with the serves.”
Also, Alli Steinbeck recorded 13 assists and 10 digs, Cori Holmes had 10 digs, Cierra King had eight blocks, Alexis Baker notched 10 digs and Jacey Ross added nine digs.
After staking out a 23-8 lead in the first set, helped by a number of big kills by Baker at the front of the net, Kenai suddenly looked vulnerable to the Seahawks, as the visitors chipped away at the lead with nine straight points, nearly all of them on tricky serves doled out by Seward outside hitter Michaela Osenga. Eventually, Seward had cut the gap to 23-17 with points from libero Kimmie Hubbard and middle Chloey Baldwin.
“It’s hard not to relax, when you have that big lead, for any team,” Beck said. “It’s like we got this, and it took a lot to get to the end there.”
However, Kenai finally found its footing with a kill point by Beck, and a dropped ball by Seward gave Kenai the set win and a 1-0 match lead.
A tight second set saw Koziczkowski and Osenga go point for point with service games that saw both sides lead early. At one point, the two schools traded the lead nine times in a row.
Kenai ultimately won out with six straight points, including several kills by King, to take match point and the game.
Abby Beck played a big role in the third set, racking up kill points on numerous tries to send Kenai to an 18-7 lead before forcing Seward coach Jamie Fredrickson to call timeout.
“We have to remember we’re playing a bigger, more powerful team,” Fredrickson said. “The score didn’t really reflect it today, but I was proud because they moved a lot, more than they normally do. They were mixing up their hits and going for it.”