The Nikiski High School volleyball team kicked off homecoming weekend in fine fashion Friday, defeating Southcentral Conference rival Seward in three games at Nikiski.
"Very smooth," Bulldogs coach Bruce King said of his team's 25-15, 25-16, 25-12 triumph. "I think the keys were that we passed well, probably as well as we've passed all season, and we did an excellent job of turning defense into offense."
Indeed, the Bulldogs dominated in each phase of the game as their serving game was spot on, they dug everything the Seahawks hit their way on defense, and with good passing all night, Nikiski setter Stacey Griffel was able to use all of her hitters.
Griffel said she also benefited from Hannah Thompson's return to the lineup, giving the Bulldogs even more weapons.
"There's a lot of options," Griffel said. "I can run a lot more quicks (quick sets, with Thompson in the lineup). Everyone else has a lot more fun with her out there, too."
Griffel was able to spread the ball around Georgie Heaverley finished with six kills, Thompson had eight kills and Krystal Gladden notched six kills to go with five blocks.
Nikiski's Hannah Thompson goes up for a spike Friday at Nikiski.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
The Bulldogs were solid across the back as well, led by Heaverley's 10 digs. Thompson picked up nine digs and Amber Huhndorf finished with seven digs.
"It was a great team effort. Everybody contributed," King said. "... It's always hard on homecoming week to stay focused, but they did. They should feel real good about this one."
Seward coach Angela Hammer said her squad shouldn't feel too bad about their effort. The Seahawks are still trying to learn to play together, and Hammer did see some positive things happening on the court.
"I think my girls did a very good job adjusting our defense and picking up their hits," Hammer said, adding that her squad's problems stemmed from miscommunication on its serve-receive, and a lack of communication on the court at other times.
"It's something they need to practice. It probably will come with experience. This is not a passive bunch of kids, they're just quiet. I'm trying to get them to bring the animal out. We've got a lot of season left, a lot of growing room left."
For the Bulldogs, beating Seward for a second time this season was important as they look forward the rest of their conference schedule.
"We knew we had to beat Seward to get ahead of everybody in the conference," Griffel said.
Griffel said there were still some areas in which the Bulldogs would like to improve, including fine-tuning their quick-set offense and improving their defense when the opponent goes for a tip.
"By the end of the season, we'll have that all figured out," Griffel said.
The Bulldogs, 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the conference, will host Skyview in a nonconference game Tuesday.
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