Skyview made quick work of Kenai Central on Tuesday night at Kenai, sweeping three games with scores of 25-19, 25-15 and 25-7 in non-conference action.
The Panthers improved their overall record to 6-0, while the Kardinals dropped to 1-6 overall.
In a match that only lasted a bit over an hour to complete, Skyview never allowed Kenai to string together more than four points in a row, and that only happened once, in the first game.
“The key is starting strong, and jumping on them at the start, because teams have a tendency to push after that, especially on receive, and that kind of happened,” said Skyview coach Sheila Kupferschmid said. “My team was ready, and it’s midseason.”
Kupferschmid also praised the performance of junior setter Emily DiPaolo, who provided 31 assists to go along with six digs and 10 service points.
“I thought Emily had an outstanding game,” Kupferschmid said. “She delivered the mail to my hitters tonight. That was her best game of the season. Kenai hit her when she was on, so kudos to her, she really ran the offense well.”
DiPaolo said receiving the serve from Kenai proved to be a strength for Skyview on Tuesday, which translated to a step up in the intensity.
“Our energy was up and everyone was together, and it was so good,” DiPaolo exclaimed.
“We had good rhythm and we found the holes,” added senior libero Casey Neill.
Neill had 18 digs and 12 service points. Teammate Sam Reynolds, an outside hitter, added 11 points, 12 digs and eight kills, opposite setter Hayley Ramsell had 22 points and 13 digs, and middle blocker Cheyanne Laber had 11 points and 12 kills.
“It’s fun to be on top, because it’s our last season,” Laber said. “We want to go out with a bang, and playing 4A schools, and then doing as well as we did, it’s gives us like an extra boost of confidence.”
After starting slow in the first game, Skyview picked up the pace and used a diverse attacking game to keep Kenai off-kilter, but Kenai responded midway through to close the gap to 16-13 behind the Panthers.
Even when Skyview was on the verge of game point, Kenai tallied a flurry of points to keep it interesting. However, it only got worse for the Kards in games two and three. Skyview knocked off 13 straight points in the third game to take a commanding 19-5 lead at one point.
Kenai coach Tracie Beck said the Kards’ serve-receive game was where they had trouble.
“We just couldn’t pass,” Beck said. “We executed well in the first game, and then after that we were leaving big holes open on the court.”
Senior setter Justice English led the team with 13 digs, while freshman Abby Beck added 10 assists and two aces, junior Kyla Whannell got four kills, and junior Kiana Harding had five kills and an ace.
During timeouts and again at the conclusion of the match, Skyview ended their huddles with chants of, “Final season!”, which Kupferschmid had the team do for this particular game.
“It’s just to continue to remind these kids that this is it for you,” Kupferschmid said. “Everything is right before you.
“It’s just a reminder of the opportunity, and these kids are special. They believe in each other and they have good chemistry, and pride is a lot of it.”
Skyview flies to Cordova to play a 7 p.m. match there on Friday and a 9 a.m. match on Saturday. Kenai will host a trio of Valley teams, starting with Colony on Friday, Wasilla on Friday and Palmer on Saturday.