Homer’s Gracie Gummer and Kenai’s Erin Koziczkowski meet across the net during a Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 volleyball game in the Alice Witte Gymnasium in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer’s Gracie Gummer and Kenai’s Erin Koziczkowski meet across the net during a Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 volleyball game in the Alice Witte Gymnasium in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Kenai volleyball defeats Homer

Seward sweeps Soldotna

Staff report

The Kenai Central volleyball team improved to 6-0 overall in nontournament play with a 22-25, 25-18, 25-16 and 25-13 victory over host Homer on Tuesday.

For the first time this season, Kenai lost a game in a best-of-five match, but the Kardinals quickly recovered.

“I thought we started slow,” Kenai Central coach Tracie Beck told the Homer News. “And that can happen, definitely. But then they played very consistent after that first match. We haven’t lost a game yet so that’s kind of nice that that’s off our shoulders a little bit.”

Kaylee Lauritsen had 34 assists, 16 digs and four aces for the Kards, while Abby Every had 18 digs, 11 kills and two stuff blocks, and Bethany Morris had 27 digs, 12 kills and three aces.

Also for Kenai, Andie Galloway had 18 digs and nine kills, while Valerie Villegas had 21 digs, Emma Beck had five kills and Jorgi Phillips had three aces.

“I like the grit of this group of girls,” Beck said told the Homer News. “They are not afraid of adversity, and in this game when it’s tough teams like Homer, you can’t be fearful of it. You have to definitely enjoy the process. … Volleyball is a great game to teach — every sport is — to teach kids about life. And I hate to say it but a lot of these kids are going through, or have gone through, or will go through adversity, and to not be a afraid of it.”

For Homer, Laura Inama had 12 kills, Brooke Shafer had 12 assists, Hannah Hatfield had nine assists and Katlyn Vogl had seven kills.

Homer coach Stephanie Carroll said her team started strong, but after that the team did not play with as much confidence in falling to 4-2 overall in nontournament play.

“As it went on they just kind of wore us down, and we didn’t react as well to their hitting in the later sets,” Carroll told the Homer News.

Kenai hosts Soldotna on Friday at 6 p.m. Homer hosts a volleyball jamboree with Soldotna and Nikiski on Saturday.

Seward 3, Soldotna 0

The host Seahawks notched a 25-23, 25-22 and 25-23 victory over the Stars on Tuesday. Soldotna fell to 2-3 overall.

“It’s just huge,” Seward coach Jodi Kurtz said after moving to 1-3 overall. “We’ve been working so hard.”

Kurtz said star hitter Sequoia Sieverts had been out with an injury, so Seward had to change its rotation. Sieverts came back last weekend, but is still not playing full games.

Soldotna coach Luke Baumer gave credit to Seward for a strong match.

“Seward came out hitting on all cylinders,” Baumer said. “Their passing was good, their defense was good and all the hitters in the front row were cranking balls at us. They were just a very, very strong team.”

Baumer said the Seahawks did particularly well during pressure situations at the end of each game.

“Once it started getting close, we got more tense and more tense,” the coach said. “At that point, it was like we were trying to play volleyball on broken glass. We were so worried and timid about making mistakes that we would up making mistakes.”

Kurtz said Seward’s play in the pressure situations was a breakthrough.

“They’ve let their mentality get to them in a lot of games,” Kurtz said. “We’ve been working on not letting it get to them when they make mistakes. When you make a mistake, let it go and come back. They showed that tonight.”

In the third game, Shelby Sieminski served out seven straight points for the victory.

“This team played as a team,” Kurtz said. “It took all of them to do it. It was just amazing.”

Morgan Bouschor had 11 kills to lead Soldotna, while Chloe Armstrong added four kills. Bouschor and Taylor Edwards each had four aces, while Aleena Zener had 13 digs and Sierra Kuntz had nine assists. Middle blocker Adarra Hagelund was brought up from JV a few weeks ago. Baumer said she did a great job blocking, tallying four blocks.

The Stars travel to play Kenai on Friday at 4 p.m. and then play in the Homer Jamboree with Nikiski on Saturday. Seward does not play until Oct. 15 in Nikiski.

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