Soldotna’s Kodi McGillivray picks up a dig during a 3-1 loss to Palmer on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, at Palmer High School. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Soldotna’s Kodi McGillivray picks up a dig during a 3-1 loss to Palmer on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, at Palmer High School. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)

Soldotna, Kenai netters lose on road

  • By Jeremiah Bartz
  • Thursday, October 12, 2017 11:20pm
  • Sports

PALMER — Tuesday, Palmer hosted Colony on its home floor and it turned out to be a rough night for the Moose.

But Palmer bounced back, and Thursday was Soldotna’s turn to struggle.

Two nights after Palmer was swept by Colony, the Moose scored their second Northern Lights Conference victory in as many nights, beating Soldotna 3-1 (33-31, 24-26, 25-18, 25-17) Thursday night at Palmer High School.

“It felt good,” Palmer head coach Jayme DeHart said after the win. “Tuesday, we looked and felt nervous. We did not come ready to play. This week that has been our main focus, gaining some confidence and playing together.”

Palmer, which swept Kenai on Wednesday, improved to 3-4 in NLC play with the victory.

“SoHi is a really good team. We lost to them earlier in the season,” DeHart said. “We knew it would be a tight one.”

Soldotna head coach Shelia Kupferschmid said the night was uncharacteristic for the Stars.

“We have not played like that all season. But give Palmer credit. They played very well,” Kupferschmid said. “I don’t know how much was us, but maybe it was Palmer?”

Kupferschmid said the Stars will certainly keep it in mind, especially with the potential of a match in the postseason.

“The result was something I was not happy with. We’ll go back to practice and work. We’ll probably run into them again in the region tournament,” Kupferschmid said.

The match included a wild first set, won by Palmer 33-31.

“I went back to me reminding our girls to believe and have confidence,” DeHart said of the game in which the teams served for match point a combined eight times. “Eventually, we as coaches run out of time outs, so they have to just figure it out.”

A Hannah Decker ace broke a 31-31 tie, and Palmer took the game with a Kelsey Giese kill.

After a tight second game, won by Soldotna 26-24, Palmer broke away with a five-point run late in the third game, and a 10-4 run in the fourth set to take the match.

“Confidence,” DeHart said of Palmer’s success. “How our confidence goes, we go.”

Kristen Beames led Palmer with 10 kills in the win. Decker added seven. Giese and Sofia Dordero finished with six each. Courtney Bernowski had 25 assists.

Aliann Schmidt led Soldotn with 11 kills in the loss. Bailey Leach chipped in 10, and Ella Stenga had nine. Holleigh Jamie finished with 13 digs and Cally Christiansen had 22 assists.

Soldotna started a three-game road trip Thursday. The Stars are at Wasilla Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Colony Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

“It’s a tough series,” Kupferschmid said.

Wasilla 3, Kenai 0

The Wasilla Warriors scored a 3-0 (25-16, 25-10, 25-20) victory over Kenai Central Thursday at Wasilla High.

Aleks Kvalheim finished with 11 kills to lead the Warriors. Emily Cizek collected a team-high 14 digs. Kaitlyn Cook added 30 assists.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at sports@frontiersman.com.

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