The Skyview High School volleyball team defeated Kenai in three games Thursday in a Region III/4A match at Kenai.
The Panthers fought off a Kenai rally to take the first game 15-11, then led from start to finish to take the second game 15-6.
Kenai maintained an early advantage in the third game before the Panthers came back to win 15-11, clinching the match.
"My theory is, the whole region is so tight, I expect the whole season to be hard-fought," Kenai coach Vanessa Gabel said. "In that first game, we went through three or four rotations and the score was still 3-4, so we're going to have to keep working hard for every point."
The Panthers, meanwhile, were firing on all cylinders.
"Our front line, our defense, everybody was there," said Skyview's Laura Tarbox. "Everybody clicked today. The synergy was there."
Tarbox had a strong night on the front line with nine kills and six blocks while Stacia Pfaffe finished with five kills and two blocks. Jenny Carpenter also had a big night for the Panthers with 12 kills.
Skyview led 9-4 in the first game before Kenai rallied for seven straight points on Kamilla Goggia's serve. Angelica Carreon had a block, a kill and won a joust at the net to help the Kardinals to a two-point lead.
Skyview tied the game on Shari Isaak's serve, then scored three points on Christina Colvin's serve, including a big hit off the Kenai block by Christine Hayes for a point.
Skyview's Angel Hollers served for the game as Kenai's return landed out of bounds.
The Panthers were able to keep their momentum going through game two.
"We didn't let down," Isaak said. "Sometimes, after you win the first game, there's a letdown, but we didn't let that get to our heads."
Tarbox sealed up the game two win for the Panthers with a block for game point.
Kenai came out swinging in game three, with Erica Shinn and Laura Rhyner each serving up aces as the Kardinals built a 9-6 lead.
Skyview tied the game with three service points from Tarbox, one on a tip by Pfaffe and another on a big hit for a kill by Carpenter.
Rhyner served up another ace and Goggia came up with a block to restore Kenai's lead, but the Skyview blockers accounted for another point and Colvin served an ace to tie things up at 11.
Colvin added another point from the service line, Hayes served for two points, including a quick-set kill by Tarbox, and Tarbox hit a monster serve for match point.
"This was a good match for us," said Skyview coach Sheila Kupferschmid. "Our kids came out very aggressive. Kenai had some key areas where they were putting things together, but couldn't quite get some momentum going."
Shinn said the number of missed serves by the Kardinals made it hard to stay in the match.
"Our serve was off, and that's what kept us in the game against Colony," Shinn said. "We had a little trouble here and there, and Skyview is very good on defense."
Kupferschmid praised the way her team picked up the ball defensively.
"My middles did a good job holding down their hitters," Kupferschmid said. "They didn't get a whole lot of blocks, but they stopped the ball enough for the defense to get their hands on it."
Gabel was pleased to see the Kardinals scrambling for every ball.
"We were picking up a lot of balls that we wouldn't have been able to pick up before," Gabel said. "Charity Christensen did a nice job on the outside hitting line. Our serve-receive was pretty consistent overall, and (setter) Amy Fischer played her tush off."
Gabel also liked the way Crystal Morris handled herself in the back row, receiving several line-drive Skyview serves, while Shinn put together a solid game at the net.
SEWARD 3, JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 1
The Seward High School volleyball team defeated Juneau-Douglas in a nondistrict match Thursday in Seward.
The Seahawks took game one 15-13 and won game two 15-7 before the Crimson Bears could rally to win game three 15-9.
The Seahawks came back to win game four 15-10 to close out the match.
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