Soldotna’s Clare Henry digs up a ball against Kenai Central on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Clare Henry digs up a ball against Kenai Central on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai volleyball knocks off Soldotna

The visiting Kenai Central volleyball team defeated Soldotna 3-1 on Tuesday night in nonconference play on Soldotna’s senior night.

The Kardinals moved to 13-0 in nontournament play, while the Stars fell to 6-8.

Soldotna and seniors Katelyn Morrison, Karley Johnson and Clare Henry did have something to celebrate, taking the first set off of the Kardinals this season in nontournament play. The scores were 25-20, 25-11, 25-27 and 25-14.

“I don’t need a perfect team, I just need a team that works hard consistently,” Kenai head coach Tracie Beck said. “They’ve had a perfect season up to this point, but somebody should be taking a set on us. They have just been playing so consistent.

“Good job to those seniors over there. It’s a big celebration for them. And they’re fun to play.”

Soldotna head coach Luke Baumer said the Kardinals showed just how good they are by taking third at the Dimond/Service Tournament over the weekend.

“The fact that we were able to take a set from them, and that for the most part, except in the second set, it was back and forth, was really great,” Baumer said.

Coach Beck said her team was tired from the weekend tournament. In the first two sets, Jorgi Phillips, who finished with 30 assists and six aces, and Emma Beck, who finished with 17 digs, 13 kills, four assists and two aces, were able to make the necessary plays to put the Kards up 2-0.

In the third set, SoHi had a game point at 24-22 but served the ball out, then had another game point that was erased by a Grace Beiser kill. Nicole Dickinson, who had 25 assists and 18 digs, earned the Stars another game point with a kill, but Beiser again answered for Kenai.

Sadie Lane, who led the Stars with 15 kills, earned another game point at 26-25, and this time Morrison, who had 17 digs and three blocks, finished it with an unreturnable serve.

The Kardinals quickly answered by jumping to a 12-5 lead in Game 4. Kenai had pinpoint passing during the run, which let Phillips spread the ball everywhere. Cali Holmes, Grace Beiser and Genesis Trevino all finished with seven kills.

“That’s what you dream about,” coach Beck said. “It’s never on one. Just to see Grace and Gen and Cali with seven kills for each of them — that’s awesome.”

Kenai also received 34 digs from Kimberly Chanley and 10 digs and two aces from Camilla Gonzalez.

Baumer, who received five aces from Hallie Fischer, said Gonzalez and Jaycie Castillo played as well for Kenai on defense as he has seen.

“We could not put a ball away on them,” he said. “They dug up everything. We had game plans that we thought were going to work, and it worked to a point, but their left backs, they picked up everything.”

The SoHi coach said Morrison and Dickinson played well for his team on defense. Baumer said Kenai targets Morrison with serves and attacks to try and keep her from attacking, but that Morrison handled that well.

The coach added that Dickinson is right in the left-handed power zone of Beck, and that Dickinson handled those blasts well.

“Her power is just something you can’t really train for,” Baumer said.

The coach said his seniors have been through some tough times, losing classmate Tori Verba to an ATV accident in June 2019. Verba planned to play volleyball for SoHi.

“They’ve been so great for our program,” Baumer said. “We’re really grateful to have had them.”

Soldotna’s Katelyn Morrison attacks on Kenai Central’s Grace Beiser and Emma Beck on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Katelyn Morrison attacks on Kenai Central’s Grace Beiser and Emma Beck on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Genesis Trevino attacks on Soldotna’s Karley Johnson and Athena Rossiter on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Genesis Trevino attacks on Soldotna’s Karley Johnson and Athena Rossiter on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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