The Nikiski High School volleyball team was able to hold off a feisty Skyview squad Tuesday, wining a nonconference match in four games at Skyview High School.
"Nikiski's a good team. They're the hardest-hitting and best-serving team we've seen so far this year," said Skyview coach Sheila Kupferschmid. "I thought my kids dug the ball really well, we just had some mental lapses on our serve-receive."
The Bulldogs opened the match with a 25-15 win in the first game, but needed extra points to win the second game, 27-25.
Skyview battled back to win the third game 25-19. Nikiski took an early lead in game four as a run of seven straight service points by Georgie Heaverley gave the Bulldogs a 9-2 lead, but Skyview battled back, pulling to within a points, 16-15, before falling 25-19.
"I think Skyview kept us a little off-balance tonight. We didn't pass well, and a large part of that was due to the fact that they served very well," said Nikiski coach Bruce King.
Hannah Thompson led the Bulldogs with 19 kills while Heaverley finished with six. Nikiski recorded 14 aces for the match, including six from Amber Huhndorf. Huhndorf also had 18 digs for the Bulldogs while Sasha Auldridge finished with 14.
"We're playing well, there's just some rough spots that we're trying to work out of our system," Thompson said. "The younger players are really starting to step up and make an impact on this team."
Thompson said the Bulldogs still have plenty of things to work on, but that she likes where the team is at this point in the season.
"There's a long way to go, but right now, we're where we should be as long as we keep progressing," Thompson said.
The Bulldogs have been scheduling the toughest competition they can find early in the season this year they have yet to play a class 3A team this season with the hopes that it will make them stronger for the conference and state tournaments.
"It's just going to make us stronger when we do play a conference opponent," said King.
Kupferschmid said the match would serve as a learning experience for her squad, which will host Homer Friday in its first Northern Lights Conference match of the season.
"I told the kids, use that, use a team like Nikiski to get better," Kupferschmid said.
Anna Bonebrake led the Panthers with 12 kills and 13 points from the service line.
"We did not control Anna Bonebrake at all, but I don't think a whole lot of teams are going to control her, the way she's hitting," said King.
Jennifer Holland notched seven kills, Melissa Fay had six kills and Alex West recorded six blocks.
Kupferschmid credited Bonebrake and Holland with solid all-around matches and added that she's very excited to work with her middle hitters, West, Missy Massey and Olivia Powell.
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