Skyview volleyball tops Nikiski in opener

The Skyview volleyball squad defeated Nikiski 25-16, 25-15 and 25-18 in the season opener for both sides Tuesday night at Skyview.

Amanda McDowell paced the Panthers with 13 service points, 10 kills, seven digs and two blocks. Teammate Marlee Cunningham added seven kills, five blocks, three digs and three points off serves.

Panthers coach Sheila Kupferschmid was pleased with the effort, but said the squad has room to improve.

“For the first outing out, there were times we looked really dominant,” Kupferschmid said. “At other times, our floor play needed a lot of work.”

One glaring absence for Skyview came at the setter position, which last season was occupied by all-conference player Rebecca Egan.

Kupferschmid said there are a few players vying for the position, but Egan’s departure was evident Tuesday.

“It’s a process,” the coach said. “It starts with the setter and her ability and the confidence she has.”

Also helping the Panthers were Mary Hauptman, who had 10 service points and five digs, and Britanie Whipple, who tallied five kills and four service points.

McDowell, however, led the charge.

“Amanda McDowell looked tough,” Kupferschmid, adding the team must focus on minimizing its mistakes. “What I always tell the kids is we are always fighting for consistency, being able to consistently pass, consistently swing, consistently serve.”

The Panthers host Seward on Sept. 3, while the Bulldogs visit Soldotna on Aug. 30.

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