Nikiski's Kyla Jorgensen keeps her eye on the ball as she makes a serve to Kenai in the first game Thursday at Nikiski.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Nikiski’s third-game problems nearly wrecked an otherwise fabulous night.
But the Bulldogs regrouped, found their bite and took out visiting Kenai Central in three straight games in high school volleyball Thursday evening. Nikiski posted a 25-14, 25-13, 25-23 nonconference triumph for its fourth straight victory.
“Those third games, we finally broke that streak,” said senior Flossie Jorgensen, whose accurate serving was a catalyst to the easy victories in the first two games.
Nikiski (9-1), of the Southcentral Conference, flexed the power of senior Hannah Thompson and the keen setting of senior Kyla Jorgensen Flossie’s cousin to overpower the Northern Lights Conference Kardinals throughout the night. Kenai Central didn’t serve up back-to-back winning points until the third game.
“Other than a momentary letdown in game three, it was a pretty solid match,” said Nikiski head coach Bruce King.”We’ve had trouble with letdowns in game threes lately.”
It was the only tense moments of the night. Otherwise, a festively enthusiastic crowd was roaring with Thompson’s kills and Kenai was desperately trying to find a rhythm on offense.
Thompson wowed the crowd with 10 kills and added 14 digs. Kyla Jorgensen and senior Sherra Pritchard recorded eight and seven blocks, respectively. Kyla Jorgensen collected 14 assists and senior Claire Bennett had nine digs.
“We played really well,” Kyla Jorgensen said. “Lately, our passes have not been so good. Today, we pulled it together. When I get good passes, I can set.”
The difference in the lopsided first two games was in fact court coverage and passing ability a strength for Nikiski enhanced by Kenai’s failures.
Flossie Jorgensen served the Bulldogs from a 9-8 edge to a five-point lead with three straight points, capped by Thompson’s timely dink to end a long rally. Flossie Jorgensen was on the back line serving up six more winning points to cap the 12-2 spurt and establish a 21-10 cushion, highlighted by Kyla Jorgensen’s sets and two pounding kills from Thompson.
Nikiski, which goes to the West Spiketacular next week, rolled ahead 12-3 in Game 2 with Flossie Jorgensen serving up eight consecutive points. Senior Kim Copeland, second to Thompson with four kills on the evening, added solid net play as the Bulldogs never led by less than nine the rest of the game.
“Everyone plays a part,” Kyla Jorgensen said of a team that is cohesive and explosive through Thompson’s right arm. “Without them, I can’t get the sets to Hannah.”
Senior Devon Copple served up the first three points for the Kardinals in the third game, and a run of service points from junior Kyla Steward fueled a surge to a 9-2 lead. Kenai, enjoying solid play off the bench from junior Julie John along the back line and junior Ronnie Sounart in the middle, built eight-point leads three times before the Bulldogs rallied.
Thompson, almost shut out from the service line, stepped up when it counted. She served an ace among four winning points to help the Bulldogs pull within 19-16, and the hosts finally pulled even with a winning serve from Pritchard.
Head coach Jason Diorec’s Kenai squad took one more lead, 21-20, before Nikiski grabbed a 23-21 lead on Copeland’s winning block. A long serve by Kenai ended the 64-minute match.
“(Kyla) is so fast,” King said. “She can track down so many balls, and she’s relentless that’s a combination you don’t always have in a setter. Both of our middle hitters did a good job, controlling the ball and putting blocks up.”
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