The Skyview Panthers volleyball team remained undefeated with a three-game non conference sweep of the Nikiski Bulldogs Tuesday in Nikiski.
It was the first loss of the season for Nikiski, as well as the Bulldogs’ first loss to a Kenai Peninsula school in three years.
“Nikiski is a very good team,” Skyview head coach Sheila Kupferschmid said following her team’s 25-23, 25-23, 25-18 win. “They picked up everything defensively on us.”
Kupferschmid said the tightly-contested match was closer than the 3-0 outcome would suggest.
“It was a battle all the way to the end,” she said. “It could have gone either way.”
Jennifer Holland led Skyview with seven kills on the match, while Brittney Meyer added six, Missy Massey had four and Mellisa Fay, Alex West and Claudia Sohns added three each.
Nikiski’s Hannah Thompson led all players with eight kills, Sherra Pritchard had three, Kyla Jorgensen added two and Clare Bennett had a kill and a service ace.
Skyview began the match with a big run behind the stellar serving of Claudia Sohns. Sohns began the match with five consecutive service points that were not returned by Nikiski, including one of her two aces on the match.
Thompson ended the run with an emphatic kill, and Nikiski was able to slowly pull itself back into the game, eventually leading by as many as four points midway through.
The Bulldogs were on the verge of closing out the game when Kupferschmid called timeout with her team down 23-21. Pritchard’s serve coming out of the stoppage was just long, and Massey was able to hold serve for Skyview to take the game.
“We knew coming in they were an excellent serving team,” Nikiski coach Bruce King said following the match.
King said he thought the difference overall on the day was Skyview’s ability to stay in control of the ball a little better than Nikiski.
“I think the difference was they had better ball control,” King said.
The back-and-forth second game featured 17 ties and 14 lead changes before Fay was able to put down a sneaky tip-kill for the game-winner.
Fay said the tough win in a hostile environment like Nikiski was a big one for the Panthers.
“We had to come out with a lot of intensity today,” she said.
She said the match was a good lesson for her team in what it will take to continue its winning ways.
“We just need to know that every team is going to fight us hard,” she said.
Skyview’s offense hit full speed in the third game, as Holland, Sohns and Meyer each nailed three kills. Kupferschmid singled Holland out for praise, calling her undersized outside hitter “our workhorse.”
“She is my utility player,” Kupferschmid said of the 5-foot, 4-inch Holland. “She does it all.”
Kupferschmid also praised two of her defensive standouts for keeping Thompson one of the state’s most lethal hitters from having a bigger impact on the game.
“Chelsea Martin and Jordan Grant defensively did a really good job on her,” she said.
Homer 3, Soldotna 0 (25-14, 25-6, 27-25)
The Homer Mariners were unkind hosts Tuesday afternooon, blanking the Soldotna Stars 3-0 in a Northern Lights Conference match at Homer High School.
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