Soldotna Volleyball defeats Kenai in 3 sets

The Soldotna volleyball team defeated Kenai Central 25-11, 25-11 and 25-15 on Tuesday in Northern Lights Conference action at Soldotna.

The Stars improve to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the league, while the Kards stay winless in league play.

Soldotna coach Bruce King said every conference match is vitally important as the Stars chase a high seed in the conference tournament.

“We came to play good volleyball and improve in the conference standings,” King said.

His players got the message.

“We tried to come out with a lot of focus and intensity,” said Soldotna setter Heidi Westerman, who led the Stars with 10 assists and five service aces. “We wanted to make sure we did all the little things right.”

Those little things added up to big victories. In the first game, Kaycee Munn served out four points to put the Stars up 21-9, and SoHi cruised to victory from there. In the second game, Kaillee Skjold, who had eight kills and seven blocks (four stuff), served out four straight points for a 14-6 lead.

Westerman served out the last seven points of the game, punctuating the run with an ace.

“We wanted to concentrate on not losing focus as the game went on,” Westerman said.

King was able to mix four junior varsity players into the action throughout the night, and all four saw playing time in the third game.

Sophomore setter Bailey Rosin, who finished with five assists and four aces, saw the first varsity action of her career, playing the entire third game.

“I was pretty nervous,” she said.

King said he was happy with the way the junior varsity players played, especially Rosin at setter.

“I was anxious to see what it would be like to play them,” Rosin said of the Kardinals. “It was definitely a lot quicker than at JV.”

Soldotna was able to steadily build its lead throughout the third game. Skjold finished the match with a kill.

Natalie Kress had eight digs for the Stars, while Taryn McCubbins and Makayla Wong each had seven.

Julie Litchfield had five blocks (three stuff) and nine assists, while Katelynn Kerkvliet had five kills.

Dacia Shier paced the Kards with three kills, while Justice English and Shanae Gladden each had two kills.

“They had some tough servers we had to watch out for,” Westerman said of the Kards. “They were scrappy as always.”

Soldotna travels to Dimond for a nonconference match Saturday. Kenai will play at the Homer Peninsula Challenge on Friday and Saturday.

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