SOLDOTNA — Since placing third in the Chugiak Invitational Sept. 2 and then defeating Homer three days later, it’s been nothing but practice for the Soldotna Stars.
And Thursday, playing in their first official action in eight days, the Stars showed some rust.
Wasilla swept Soldotna 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-16) at Wasilla High School in Northern Lights Conference action.
“We’ve had a good week-and-a-half of not playing ball, and it showed,” Soldotna head coach Shelia Kupferschmid said after the loss. “We needed some competition. We got that tonight.”
Even when the individual game scores were close, Wasilla was able to maintain momentum to improve to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in NLC play.
“I thought their block was the reason for that,” Kupferschmid said of the Warriors. “They had a pretty good block. I think our inexperience showed as well. We couldn’t control their serves very well.”
While inexperience may have played a role for the Stars in the loss, Wasilla head coach Josie Cannon credited her team’s experience as a difference-maker in the win.
“Most of my starting group are seniors. They’ve been playing together since freshman year,” Cannon said.
Wasilla was able to jump out to significant leads in all three games. But in the first game, the Stars nearly completed a rally. After Wasilla led 21-16, Soldotna used a 6-2 run to cut Wasilla’s advantage to 23-21 late in the game. Wasilla was able to stay ahead and grab a 25-23 lead in the first game.
Cannon said that was an example of a particular point the Wasilla coaching staff has been stressing this year.
“A team goal is keep the roller-coaster (play) to a minimum,” Cannon said. “(Tonight) we were able to shut them down.”
Olivia Vincent led the Warriors with a dozen kills and four blocks in the win. Andraia Bella added four kills and a team-best 17 digs. Lindsey Cizek collected five aces and 15 assists. Victoria Malak finished with four kills and two blocks.
Wasilla continues NLC play Friday hosting Kenai at 6:30 p.m. Soldotna’s tour of the Valley continues with a date at Palmer at 6:30 p.m., and a match at Colony Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Colony 3, Kenai 0
The Colony Knights volleyball team swept Kenai Central in a Northern Lights Conference meeting Thursday night at Colony. The Knights beat the Kards with scores of 19-25, 5-25 and 17-25.
Abby Beck led the attack with eight kills, three aces and eight digs, while Caleigh Jensen had five kills and one ace. Bethany Coghill finished with 22 assists and two aces, while Jillian Kindred notched nine digs and Cierra King added five kills and an ace.
Seward 3, Homer 1
The Seahawks grabbed a Southcentral Conference victory over the Mariners on Thursday on the road, with scores of 25-19, 25-15, 22-25 and 25-21.
Seward coach Jamie Frederickson praised the work of senior outside hitter Tia Miranda, who commanded the court with several aces and shanks for serves.
Frederickson also said junior Miley Moriarty and sophomore Ashley Jackson had good games as setters.
“They were diving all over the place making saves,” she said.