A rough weekend for central Kenai Peninsula volleyball teams in the Northern Lights Conference tournament at Colony ended Saturday with Soldotna losing to Wasilla 3-1 in the match for third place.
The scores were 20-25, 25-17, 25-18 and 25-23.
There were three berths available to the state tournament, but SoHi, Skyview, Kenai Central and Homer each fell shy. Together the four teams went 3-8 over the three-day competition.
First-place Palmer, runner-up Kodiak and Wasilla advanced. Kenai Central and Homer finished 0-2 and were eliminated Friday. Skyview and Soldotna, meanwhile, were put away Saturday.
This was the second straight year the NLC Southern Division failed to produce a state-tournament qualifier.
“The bottom line is a lot of these matches came right down to the wire,” SoHi coach Bruce King said. “They could have gone either way.”
After Wasilla dispatched NLC Southern Division regular-season champion and No. 1 seed Skyview in the consolation bracket Saturday, the Stars were the final Peninsula team left standing.
But with a chance to salvage third and the final berth to state, SoHi came up short. The Stars captured Game 1 before dropping the next three.
Kaillee Skjold had 11 kills and 11 blocks, while Sydney Goggia posted nine kills and 11 blocks.
Kylee Woodford added 26 digs, and Kaycee Munn notched six kills and 14 digs. Heidi Westerman chipped in with a team-best 28 assists.
“They have some real tough jump-servers, and our passing was a little rocky in Games 2 and 3,” King said. “We did a better job in Game 4.”
The Stars made it to the third-place match thanks to a win over Colony 3-1 early Saturday.
Skjold and Goggia led the way as each had 19 kills and 15 blocks. Goggia also had six service aces.
“They were outstanding,” King said of Skjold and Goggia.
Westerman had 34 assists, while Woodford and Julie Litchfield posted 36 and 23 digs, respectively.
Also Saturday, Skyview saw its season end shy of state. It was the second straight year the Panthers entered the tournament as a No. 1 seed only to come up short.
The Panthers were eliminated in a sweep to the Warriors by scores of 25-20, 25-20 and 25-18.
“I thought we competed. We were in every match and almost every set. We just came up short,” Skyview coach Sheila Kupferschmid said. “I don’t know exactly why, except we just made more mistakes than the other team.”
Friday, the Panthers defeated the Mariners 3-0 to keep the season alive. That came after a tournament-opening loss to host Colony, which put Skyview in the consolation bracket.
Kupferschmid credited senior Amanda McDowell, who was named the conference’s player of the year, as well Holley Ramsell.
“Overall, we played very well. I was pleased with my kids,” the coach said. “They were determined. They felt they could compete. They felt they could win. We just fell short.”
All-Northern Lights Conference
Northern Division Player of Year — Jenna Arlow, Palmer
Southern Division Player of Year — Amanda McDowell, Skyview
Coach of the Year — Steve Reynolds, Palmer
Carole Lampl, Kodiak; Jenna Arlow, Palmer; Haley Taylor, Wasilla; Amanda McDowell, Skyview; Kallee Skjold, Soldotna; Jolee Fife, Wasilla; Kylee Woodford, Soldotna; Mary Klapperich, Colony; Hannah Wandersee, Kodiak; Morgan Morfe, Palmer.
Marlee Cunningham, Skyview; Lauren Cashman, Homer; Kayla Bell, Wasilla; Britanie Whipple, Skyview; Brooke DeVaney, Homer; Mary Hauptman, Skyview; Heidi Westernman, Soldotna; Allison Leigh, Colony; Tonya Wandersee, Kodiak; Lily Cullers, Palmer; Lauren Schams, Kenai Central.