A state playoff run will require perfection from here on out for the Soldotna and Kenai Central volleyball teams.
SoHi swept Kenai in three sets Friday afternoon at the Northern Lights Conference tournament in Kodiak, relegating the Kardinals to the second-chance bracket and a date against Palmer.
Soldotna, meanwhile, advanced to a quarterfinal clash late Thursday against Wasilla, and the Warriors prevailed 3-1, with scores of 25-14, 25-15, 22-25 and 25-18. The loss dropped the Stars into a second-chance bracket matchup with Kodiak.
SoHi head coach Sheila Kupferschmid found difficulty in explaining her team’s performance.
“We did not play very well,” Kupferschmid said. “It’s disappointing.”
Leading the team in the loss was Holleigh Jaime with 17 service points and 15 digs, Ella Stenga with five service points, five kills and three blocks and Shaylynn Zener with 12 service points, seven kills and 15 digs.
Aliann Schmidt added six kills and Cally Christianson notched 16 service points, 24 assists and two blocks for the Stars.
Kupferschmid said the Stars struggled the most in the passing game.
“We lost it on ball control,” she said. “It’s disappointing, but it’s not totally over. We can still come back around, the kids are going to have to show a lot of character and determination.”
SoHi begins its run through the second-chance bracket today with a 1 p.m. matchup with Kodiak. The Stars beat the Bears in both conference games this year, although Kupferschmid cautions that both were at home and early in the season.
It will take two wins today for SoHi to get to state. A Friday night game against the winner between Kenai and Palmer would clinch a state spot.
“If the kids can bring it back together tomorrow, we are still in it,” Kupferschmid said. “With my crew, and the talent I have, I know these kids are capable.”
Kenai will face Palmer today at 11 a.m.
Soldotna 3, Kenai Central 0
The Stars topped the Kardinals in the first round by scores of 25-17, 25-21 and 25-17.
“Kenai played so much better,” Kupferschmid said. “They had so much better ball control and they swung.
“It was a very good, competitive match.”
Ella Stenga had nine digs, eight kills and seven points, while Kodi McGillivray had 15 service points and four kills, Shay Zener had 13 service points, 10 digs and five kills, Aliann Schmidt had 11 kills and two blocks, and Cally Christianson had 21 assists, four service points and one block.
In other scores, fourth-seeded Palmer prevailed in five sets over fifth-seeded Kodiak to advance to Thursday’s late quarterfinal, which No. 1 Colony swept in three sets over Palmer.