Skyview notched a come-from-behind, Northern Lights Conference win over crosstown rival Soldotna in five games, 25-20, 20-25, 21-25, 25-9 and 15-5, in front of a full crowd on Tuesday at Skyview High School. The Panthers improve to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the NLC. SoHi falls to 3-2 and 2-2.
After three tight games, the Stars held a 2-1 advantage. Then Skyview took over.
The Panthers jumped out to a 10-point lead en route to an easy win in the fourth game, and continued their dominance with a decisive win in the fifth game.
"My kids just have big hearts," Panthers head coach Sheila Kupferschmid said. "They wanted it really bad."
In the huddle prior to the fourth game, Kupferschmid told her team to settle down. Her calming words helped, and Skyview was a different team in the final two games.
"They settled down and executed," Kupferschmid said.
SoHi's passing was not as good in the final two games as it was the previous three, Stars head coach Bruce King said.
"That made a difference," he said. "Against Skyview, you have to pass."
SoHi's inexperience also showed in the later games, King said.
"I just think that we're not experienced enough in these five-game matches," he said. "We're basically a young team still learning."
Kupferschmid echoed King's words.
"That's a good example of experience," she said. "Older kids against good athletes is what that was."
Thit Bak paced SkyHi with 14 kills. Jaxon Hill followed with 10, Alicia West had nine and Amanda McDowell had five.
Skyview's Rebecca Egan led the way with 16 service points. Bak recorded 11, West had seven, Hill had six, McDowell had five and Brittinie Whipple had three.
On defense, West led with nine digs and three blocks. McDowell recorded three digs and two blocks, and Hill and Bak each had four blocks.
Caity Marang provided a spark for Skyview, Kupferschmid said. Marang, who finished with three blocks, two kills and one service point, opened up Skyview's hitters, Kupferschmid said.
For SoHi, Kaycee Munn had a team-high 10 kills. Rebecca Satethite followed with eight. Satethite also had six aces. Heidi Westerman led with 11 assists and Alicia Hamilton had six.
On defense, Kaillee Skjold recorded eight blocks, four stuff. Sydney Goggia also had eight blocks, two stuff. Kylee Woodford led the Stars with 14 digs. Satathite followed with 12 and Munn had 10.
SoHi will use the match as a learning experience, King said.
"It was a good test for us," he said. "We just need to play more of these and get experience."
The well-coached Stars balanced the game at the net well, Kupferschmid said.
"To give my kids a fight like that says a lot for their program," she said.
Playing in front of a packed house, most donning black and purple, also help propel the Panthers to victory, Kupferschmid said.
"We're one big school competing for Skyview," she said. "The school spirit here is phenomenal."
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