The Kenai Central volleyball team defeated host Nikiski in five games on Thursday in nonconference action.
The Kardinals won 25-23, 17-25, 25-19, 15-25 and 15-9.
Both coaches said they have young teams and playing a five-game match was good experience for the rest of the season.
"We're dealing with a very young group," Kenai coach John Kennedy said after improving to 1-3 overall. "We only have three kids with any varsity experience.
"We feel the same thing they do. Those high-caliber games -- we're not used to that yet."
Nikiski coach Amber Oliva-Douglas said her squad's inexperience loomed large in the fifth game.
"I think it came down to lack of experience," she said. "Those games to 15 are so fast."
Kennedy said his squad continues to look for consistency, but he did see a bright spot in the way the Kards played defense.
"We did much better tonight digging up balls, getting them up, and scrambling after them," Kennedy said.
Kennedy said returning seniors Samantha Kelley, Allie McGahan and Shelby Toombs all were key in the victory. The coach said Kelley, with eight assists and six aces, was a big catalyst in the match. McGahan had 10 kills, two aces, three blocks and 15 digs, while Toombs added seven assists, four aces and five kills. Alisha Peterson added 20 digs for the Kardinals.
Oliva-Douglas also saw her squad take steps forward during the match.
"When we were winning, we were communicating and moving better on our feet," she said after her team dropped to 0-5 overall. "We exploited the holes in Kenai's defense much better in the games that we won."
As usual, the coach said Minna Bogard was superb at libero, where she had 25 digs. According to Oliva-Douglas, the breakout player in the match was sophomore Sienna Wallis with seven blocks and six kills.
Also for the Bulldogs, Savannah Griffel had 30 assists and three aces, Makenize Moore had 15 digs, three aces and nine kills, Kinsey Martin had 10 kills, Bailey Buchholz had 10 digs and Taylor Calderwood had three aces.
Kenai will host Skyview on Tuesday at 6 p.m., while the Bulldogs travel to Seward for a 12:30 p.m. contest on Sept. 18.
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