The host Nikiski volleyball team notched its first victory of the season Friday night, cruising to a 25-21, 25-16 and 25-19 victory over Anchorage Christian Schools in Southcentral Conference play.
After a 25-21, 25-10, 19-25 and 25-17 loss to Grace Christian at Nikiski on Saturday, the Bulldogs moved to 1-3 in the league and 1-5 overall.
“I thought it was kind of refreshing for the girls,” Nikiski coach Stacey Segura said after Friday’s win. “I think that they needed a big confidence boost and to know they could actually do it, so it was good for the soul.”
Segura said senior middle Ariel VanZandt, who had four kills, played her best match of the season.
“I think this definitely boosts our morale because this is our first win,” VanZandt said. “So that might help us in other games, getting us a bit more experienced. We were also able to experiment with some plays.”
When asked what his team’s record was, Lions head coach Serge Duchatellier joked that ACS is the strongest team, because the Lions are holding up the bottom.
At the same time, ACS did not allow Nikiski to relax, pushing in each game.
“We came into the game wanting to run our offensive scheme and be a little bit more aggressive, and we had a couple opportunities to do that,” Duchatellier said. “I’m really, really happy with how they kept up with Nikiski. Nikiski always fields a great team.”
Segura said the missing component for the Bulldogs this season has been the attack, but she added Friday was the best night of attacking yet. The team had 25 kills, with Rylee Ellis leading with six kills and Ashlynne Playle adding five. Savanna Stock had six assists and four aces, Jaycee Tauriainen had 11 digs and eight assists, and Maylisa Hodges had eight digs.
“Everyone had the opportunity to swing, so I was really happy with the attack,” Segura said.
VanZandt said the action against the Lions was a bit slower.
“We were able to set up our hitters a little bit more and give us extra time,” VanZandt said. “Then we were able to work more on hitting and not stress out where the hits were going, or how hard the hits are.
“We were just hitting.”
Saturday, Hodges had 14 digs, Ellis had 11 digs, Tauriainen had 11 digs and eight assists, Stock had five kills, Playle had four kills, VanZandt had four kills and six blocks, and Avery White had six aces.
Palmer 3, Soldotna 1
The host Moose notched a Northern Lights Conference victory on Friday, dropping the Stars to 0-3 in the league and 1-7 overall.
The scores were 25-17, 25-19, 20-25 and 25-9.
Chloe Armstrong had 10 kills for the Stars, while Karly Johnson had five. Adarra Hagelund led with five blocks, while Emma Brantley had 22 assists and three aces. Ashlee Anderson also added three aces for the Stars, while Aleena Zener had 13 digs.
Palmer 3, Soldotna 0
The host Moose notched a 25-16, 28-26 and 25-20 Northern Lights Conference victory over Soldotna on Saturday.
The Stars fall to 0-4 in the league and 1-8 overall.
Despite the loss, SoHi coach Luke Baumer is happy with the way the team continues to grow.
“Our goal today was on problem-solving — trying to figure out things like why we can’t get out of a rotation — rather than moving on to the next point,” SoHi coach Luke Baumer said. “We did a really nice job of that today.”
Armstrong had eight kills, Zener had 11 digs, Brantley had 13 assists and Sadie Lane had two aces.
Baumer said Armstrong had a really good weekend, while Brantley and Zener also provided leadership. Baumer pointed out that after staying on the Kenai Peninsula last season due to COVID, this was the first time all of his starters had played varsity in the Valley except for Zener.
The coach also said Karly Johnson did a good job stepping into the starting lineup.
Baumer did not make the trip due to a positive COVID test, so he credited assistants Drewe Zeek and Shay Zener with doing a great job filling in for him.
Kenai 3, Seward 0
The host Kardinals topped the Seahawks 25-14, 25-8 and 25-15 on Saturday in Southcentral Conference action.
The Kardinals are now 8-0 in nontournament play and 5-0 in the league, while Seward is 3-2 and 2-2.
Kim Chanley had six aces and seven digs for the Kards, while Jorgi Phillips had 30 assists, Valerie Villegas had 17 digs, Andie Galloway had 10 kills, Emma Beck had nine kills, and Cali Holmes had six kills and five blocks.
Homer 3, Grace Christian 0
The host Mariners quickly rebounded from their first loss of the season — a five-setter to Kenai on Thursday — with a Southcentral Conference sweep of the Grizzlies on Friday.
The scores were 25-16, 25-10 and 25-18. Brooke Shafer had four aces and 19 assists, while Izzy Dye had nine kills, Grace Gummer had six kills and Zoe Adkins had four aces.
Homer 3, ACS 0
The host Mariners won 25-13, 25-7 and 25-22 to move to 4-1 in the Southcentral Conference and 7-1 overall.