The Nikiski volleyball team got the upper hand on Kenai on Friday evening, sweeping the Kards three games to none in nonconference action at Kenai Central High School.
Nikiski won the first game 25-21, the second 25-16, and took a commanding third-game win, 25-11.
First-year Nikiski head coach Stacey Segura said her team was not effectively executing some of the techniques they have been working on in practices in the first game, but managed to improve as the evening went on.
“The second game they got better and the third game they were doing it very well,” Segura said. “That’s what we’ve been working on, just throwing the blockers off, and trying to hit the ball down on the floor and being on top of it.”
Both sides played an even match through much of the first game, but with Kenai leading 17-16, Nikiski found its groove and ended on a hot streak that included an 8-2 run that gave them the first game.
Kenai found itself in a similar situation in the second game, leading 7 to 6 early on, but again suffered at the hands of a Nikiski hot streak, as eight straight points slipped away from the Kards to bolster Nikiski’s lead to seven points over Kenai.
First-year Kenai coach Tracie Beck said the Kardinals lacked consistency, owing mostly to the fact that only one starter is a returning member from last year.
“We’re still balancing things and teaching things, and when we get through the teaching stage, we’ll jack up the intensity,” Beck said. “The kids are getting it, but we have a bigger mountain to climb this year. A lot of it is decision-making, and it’s all new to them, with a totally different coach and strategy. ”
Kenai was able to close to within three points of Nikiski in the second game, but the Bulldogs reeled off six unanswered points to end the game.
In the third and final game, Nikiski put the pressure on one last time, relentlessly producing spikes and kills from an offensive front of Taylor Calderwood, Bailey Buchholz and Sienna Wallis. Nikiski was able to clinch the competition, helped by runs of 5-0 and 8-0.
“I’ve been making the girls get on the floor every day, and if they don’t they know I’ll get on them,” Segura said. “This is a long weekend, and a lot of fans are out tonight to see us, which helps the girls out a lot. They played well and I’m proud of them.”
Nikiski will now prepare to face off with Skyview on Tuesday, and that will double as the school’s homecoming match.
Kenai travels to Kodiak for competition next week on Friday and Saturday.
For Nikiski, the victory was the first for the Bulldogs this season in their first nontournament competition, leaving the team with a 1-0 record. Kenai has slipped to 0-2 for the season.