A day after securing their second straight berth at the Class 4A state tournament, the Soldotna Stars fell victim to the Wasilla Warriors in a tight, five-set loss Friday at the Northern Lights Conference tournament at Colony High.
SoHi lost with scores of 21-25, 25-20, 25-15, 20-25 and 16-18, leaving the Stars with a third-place tournament finish.
Head coach Sheila Kupferschmid stressed that the bottom line is SoHi is headed to state.
“I feel like I have a very good team,” Kupferschmid said. “We could’ve very well been the team in the (conference) championship game, it came down to a few points here and there.”
Wasilla and Colony met in Saturday’s title game.
SoHi won sets two and three to grab a 2-1 match lead, but the Warriors won set four to force the winner-take-all fifth set.
Kupferschmid said losing 18-16 in the final game came down to inches.
“The kids played very well,” she said. “It could’ve gone our way, but we had opportunities to close it, but it didn’t happen for us.
But I was proud of my kids, they put their hearts on the floor and that’s exactly what I asked them to do.”
Kupferschmid said the current crop of seniors have come a long way, and she saw the talent coming early as a 17-1 season indicated at the C-team level in 2015.
Aliann Schmidt exploded for 21 kills against Wasilla, while Bailey Leach had 12 kills and Ituau Tuisaula notched 11. Schmidt added six blocks as well, while Leach scored 11 points and Tuisaula scored 10 to go with 24 digs on defense.
Additionally, Kodi McGillivray had 11 points, Holleigh Jaime notched 17 digs and Kylie Ness recorded 14 digs.