The Palmer volleyball team rolled to a 25-17, 25-14 and 25-12 Northern Lights Conference victory over host Kenai Central on Wednesday.
“I thought we started really anxiously,” Palmer coach Jayme DeHart said after moving to 1-0 in the league and 1-1 overall. “As the match went on, we calmed down and got better ball control.”
DeHart credited her entire back row for taking control of the match, but singled out seniors Mystery Showalter and Gina Bodnar. Showalter had eight digs, while Bodnar compiled five aces. In Game 3, she served the Moose to a 15-0 lead.
Kenai co-coach Jason Diorec does not have the same experience to lean on in the back row, and it showed in the Kardinals’ ball control.
“We are a young team,” Diorec said after falling to 0-1 in the league and 0-2 overall. “We are focused on ball control right now.”
Diorec said he continues to see quick progress in the ball control department. He expects that to continue when the Kards host Colony tonight at 6 p.m. and Wasilla on Friday at 6 p.m. Meanwhile, Palmer travels to take on Soldotna today at 6 p.m.
“That’s what we get from Valley teams coming down here — we get repititions,” Diorec said. “There are always great teams in the Valley.”
The Kards received nine kills from Mayzie Potton and six kills from Sam Kompkoff. Maddie Galloway had 16 assists and three aces, while Jaiden Streiff pitched in two aces.
“Once we have ball control, we’re running a quick offense that has four or five hitters at one time,” Diorec said. “We just need to get the ball to the setter.”
Diorec also said the team got a boost in Game 3 from Abby Every.
“She’s a freshman, and it was a chance to take a look,” Diorec said. “She’s aggressive and full of energy and effort. We put her in to see how she would do when the pressure was on, and she did great.”
As the match wore on, Palmer found the setter more and more and that led to eight kills for Kristen Beames.
“Every week, we’re showing improvement in our attack,” DeHart said. “We’re still hoping to get even better there.”