The Homer volleyball team was able to pick up a big Southcentral Conference victory Saturday over a Nikiski team coming off a tough five-set loss to Wasilla on Friday night.
In Nikiski, the Division II Bulldogs lost 18-25, 30-28, 25-19, 24-26 and 15-9 to the Division I Warriors, the top team in the Northern Lights Conference. Nikiski was even missing leading hitter Bethany Carstens because she was on a trip to check out a school for basketball.
“Overall, I was really excited about the way we played against Wasilla, especially without having Bethany,” said Nikiski coach Stacey Segura, whose record is at 6-2 in the league and 7-3 overall. “Wasilla has some strong hitters.
“We didn’t have to block we needed, but by the end her sister, Lillian, was figuring it out.”
Against the Warriors, Kaitlyn Johnson had three aces, five kills and seven assists, Kelsey Clark had three aces and 20 digs, Emma Wik had three aces and 10 assists, Kaycee Bostic had 10 kills and a block, and Lillian Carstens had seven kills and two blocks.
The Bulldogs then lost 25-17, 22-25, 26-24 and 25-23 to Homer. The Mariners celebrated senior night by picking up their first victory against the Bulldogs since 2014.
“It was really weird,” Segura said. “That was the most flat I’ve seen these girls play in the last two years.”
Segura said it was tough going from the five-set loss against Wasilla to the Homer match, but she’s happy her team stayed positive and is looking forward to getting back to practice and hosting Soldotna on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Wik had six kills and 13 assists against Homer, while Johnson had three aces and 18 assists, Bostic had 10 kills and Clark had 12 digs.
Homer coach Sara Pennington said her squad stuck together.
“I just had to keep convincing them that they were capable of coming out of a hole, every single time,” she told the Homer News. “We were down almost five points, I think, and we came back. Sometimes it’s hard for them to believe in themselves when you’re down. You know, your attitudes change and you don’t think you can do it, you think you’re going to lose. I just had to keep telling them, ‘You are capable of doing this,’ and they did it. I’m so proud of them.”
The win allowed seniors Brianna Hetrick and Kelsea Scott a final, and vivid, memory on their home floor.
“There’s been a lot of growth, I think,” Scott told the Homer News. “I’ve played with most of the girls on the team for at least three, four years, and so it’s awesome to see all of the growth and everybody getting better, hitting harder. It’s really good.”
“With Coach Sara as our coach, she has pushed us to the top,” Hetrick told the Homer News. “She is an amazing coach, and we have improved so much. There is no way last year we could have beaten Nikiski.”
Kenai Central splits Southcentral Conference matches
The host Kardinals lost to Grace Christian in three before defeating Anchorage Christian Schools in four on Friday and Saturday in Kenai. The weekend leaves Kenai at 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the league.
Friday, Kenai head coach Tracie Beck said the Kardinals struggled to deal with the experience of the Grizzlies.
The coach was happy with the way her team came back Saturday in a 22-25, 25-19, 25-17 and 25-15 victory over the Lions.
Sophomore Abby Every led the way with 24 digs, five kills and two aces.
“It was nice to see a sophomore show up and dominate in all parts of the game,” Beck said. “Today, she stepped up in a big way, but it was also a combined effort of all of the girls.”
Also for the Kardinals, Kailey Hamilton had 13 assists, Kaylee Lauritsen had 12 assists and two aces, Bethany Morris had 10 kills, Jenna Streiff had 15 digs and Jaiden Streiff had 14 digs.
Soldotna falls to Wasilla
The host Stars fell 22-25, 25-21, 25-22 and 25-19 to the Warriors in Northern Lights Conference play on Saturday.
Wasilla moved to 6-0 in the conference, while the Stars finish conference play at 5-3.
“I thought both teams were pretty flat,” Soldotna coach Sheila Kupferschmid said. “It’s a long, tough season. I hope we have that out of the way now.”
Ituau Tuisaula had seven kills and 11 digs for Soldotna, while Aliann Schmidt had 12 kills, Kodi McGillivray had six kills and nine point won on serve, Carsen Brown had 21 assists, Kalyn McGillivray hd 13 assists, Holleigh Jaime had 17 digs and Brittani Blossom won nine points on serve.
Seward splits Southcentral matches
The host Seward volleyball team split a pair of Southcentral Conference matches on Friday and Saturday. The Seahawks defeated Anchorage Christian Schools 3-1 before losing to Grace Christian 3-2 on Saturday.