Soldotna swept Wasilla three games to none Thursday night in Northern Lights conference play at Soldotna. Soldotna won the first game 25-17, the second 25-15 and the third 25-15.
With an unofficial clocking of one hour, 10 minutes, the Stars played efficiently with the stats spread evenly through the team.
“I think we’re a pretty strong team, both offensively and defensively,” Soldotna coach Bruce King said. “Tonight we just gave it a high level of consistency, and we played smart.
“I would say both of our setters did a pretty good job managing the match for us, they saw where the holes were on Wasilla’s defense and delivered the ball to the appropriate hitters pretty well tonight.”
Setters Heidi Westerman and Julie Litchfield had 18 and 16 assists, respectively. Litchfield had six kills and nine blocks (three stuff).
Senior Natalie Kress led Soldotna in digs, coming up with 23 total, while teammate Kaillee Skjold had seven digs, 10 blocks (one stuff) and 14 kills.
“Natalie Kress had a fantastic game for us in the backcourt, she gets better every time we play at anticipating what the other team is doing,” King said.
Wasilla scored the first point in two of the three games, but let the lead slip away both times, as the Stars were deadly with their point streaks. Soldotna strung together streaks of five- and six-point runs in the first game, and had multiple four- and five-point streaks in the final game to put the match away.
Skjold finished off the night with an ace, served by Litchfield, in the third game.
Wasilla was led by Machia Toews, who recorded 42 digs and eight kills.
“They really stepped up, I haven’t seen them play that well this year,” Wasilla coach Claudia Farias Pinard said. “I have a really young team, mostly sophomores and juniors, and today they really played like they want it, and we tried our best. I’m proud.”
Peyton Mobley had four aces and led Wasilla in setting, and teammate Cassidy Edwards and six kills and two blocks.
“I’m happy because we’re not quite ready yet, but we’re building a team, and we will get there,” Pinard said. “Sometimes, we’ll lose a game, but I’m happy with the progress. Sometimes we can lose but put up a good game.”
With the victory, Soldotna improved to a 3-0 conference record, and 4-0 overall. The Stars play Palmer at home on Friday at 6 p.m.
“Our goal always is to play consistent and smart, and not beat ourselves,” King said. “We need to try to do that in the next two conference matches this weekend.
“I think if you’re going to fare well late in the season in the conference tournament seeding, then you pretty much have to win all of your home conference matches.”