Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Soldotna Stars' Skylar Shaw reacts after missing the ball during the game against the Palmer Moose Friday, September 25, 2014, at Soldotna High School, in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Soldotna Stars' Skylar Shaw reacts after missing the ball during the game against the Palmer Moose Friday, September 25, 2014, at Soldotna High School, in Soldotna, Alaska.

SoHi netters stump Palmer

As much of a momentum sport that volleyball is, a two-set lead can vanish pretty quickly in any given match.

The Palmer Moose rallied back from near elimination by Kenai Central on Wednesday night to win in five sets, so the possibility of doing the same to Soldotna on Thursday was there.

However, the Stars held strong and finished off Palmer 3-1 at Soldotna High School, winning the first two sets 25-21 and 25-16, dropping the third 18-25, then demolishing the Moose 25-11 in the fourth to claim the win.

“Palmer’s a good team, and they were not willing to let themselves get swept,” said SoHi coach Sheila Kupferschmid. “It was a momentum switch, and they caught fire and balls were landing for them.”

Soldotna boosted its season record to 3-0 in nontournament play, while Palmer drops to 2-1 in the league and 2-2 overall.

“SoHi looked at a better team all around,” Kupferschmid said about Palmer.

Among Thursday’s top hitters were Hayley Ramsell with 18 kills and seven service points, Hayley Miller with eight service points and four kills, Lindsey Wong with seven service points, Makenna Rosin with five block kills, and Skylar Shaw with six kills. Coach Kupferschmid said that Rosin and Wong were “phenomenal.”

“They were very effective,” Kupferschmid said. “You can get into a hitter’s head that way, and they contained very well. I’m very impressed with Makenna, she was great closing the block with Lindsey. What a combination there.”

Palmer was led by Leiah Reichel with 13 kills, while teammates Mariah McNamara had 11 digs and Allie McPheters provided 17 assists.

The first set provided immediate drama right from the start. After putting together nine straight points midway through the set to stake out a comfortable lead of seven points, SoHi eventually found itself with match point at 24-15. It took six consecutive Palmer points and two timeouts from Kupferschmid before the Stars clinched the set win 25-21 with a nasty kill point from Rosin.

In the second set, a late boost of offensive firepower from Ramsell gave SoHi the 25-16 win. Of course, with homecoming on the immediate horizon, there was a lot to be excited about.

“There was a lot of energy, and I told them this was their homecoming game, and they took it to heart and played very well,” Kupferschmid said.

Trailing by two sets, the Moose did not go down easy. Sitting tied at 10 apiece in the set, Ellen Groseclose went off on a hitting spree, sending several strong blasts into SoHi territory and upsetting the SoHi defense. It all resulted in a 25-18 win for Palmer, closing the deficit to 2-1.

However, Ramsell answered back for the Stars with authority.

“Momentum can swing,” Kupferschmid explained. “We started the match ahead, and when the kids saw that, it was a big boost.”

Following a 14-9 start to the set, Soldotna finished with a flourish, outscoring Palmer 11-2 to clinch the match.

Kupferschmid said after earning a Gold Bracket seeding at last weekend’s West Spiketacular tournament in Anchorage, the Stars managed to continue to carry the momentum and confidence.

“We’re gonna run with it as long as we can,” Kupferschmid said. “I think I’ve got some mature kids. They want to have the team chemistry, they want this to work. Their choices they’re making to come together as a team, it’s really working.”

SoHi will face Colony tonight at 6 p.m. at Soldotna Prep.

Colony 3, Kenai 0

The visiting Knights swept the Kardinals Thursday night at Kenai Central High School, dropping a crucial third set 27-25.

Kenai dropped to 0-4 in the league and 2-4 overall.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Soldotna Stars' Haley Ramsell spikes the ball during the game against the Palmer Moose Friday, September 25, 2014, at Soldotna High School, in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Soldotna Stars’ Haley Ramsell spikes the ball during the game against the Palmer Moose Friday, September 25, 2014, at Soldotna High School, in Soldotna, Alaska.

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