The Soldotna High Schools volleyball team notched its first win of the season Friday, defeating the visiting Homer Mariners in five games in a Region III/4A match.
The Stars opened with a 15-8 win before losing two straight, 15-13, 15-13. Soldotna forced a game five with a 15-13 win in game four, then clinched the match with a 20-18 win in game five.
"That one gave me a migraine," said Soldotna coach Pako Whannell. "It was serve, sideout, serve, sideout. It was really tough. We talked about it before the match -- we had nothing to lose, we're 0-5, so we need to go out and play our best game. I'm proud of them for stepping up and coming out confident."
Hillary Zobeck led the way for the Stars with 19 kills and four kill blocks. Rachel Besse had 15 kills and 14 kill blocks, Ashley Duwe had eight kills and four ace serves and Jenna Pitts had four kills.
"Everybody gave a little bit," Whannell said. "Our defense really won the game tonight. We've been struggling and working on it. Tonight, we had 22 team saves. The girls were reaching and rolling for ball they normally don't get to, and getting them up."
The extra effort on defense and the digs by Zobeck, Christa Martin, Pitts, Duwe, Lauren Christensen and Foster enabled the Stars' setters, Foster and Martin, to make some excellent sets.
"Stacey is usually our five-one setter, but she was injured during the match," Whannell said. "Christa Martin sets on JV, but she's our defensive specialist on varsity. She stepped up and made some beautiful sets for our hitters."
Foster had 24 assists while Martin had 18. Haley Smith gave the team a boost off the bench.
Christensen had three aces, as did teammate Tabitha Strauss.
KODIAK 3, KENAI 2
The Bears defeated the Kardinals in a Region III/4A match.
Kenai won the opener 15-12, but Kodiak came back to win the next two games, 15-9 and 16-14. Kenai won game four 15-8 to force a fifth game, but the Bears clinched the match with a 16-14 win in the final game.
SKYVIEW 3, DIMOND 1
The Panthers defeated Dimond in four games for a nonregion win Saturday at Skyview.
"It was good for Skyview to play an Anchorage school and see what the competition is," said Skyview coach Sheila Kupferschmid. "I thought the kids fared well. I think all of the peninsula coaches feel the same -- we're able to compete with the (Region III/4A) North schools."
Skyview took a quick lead with 17-15 and 15-2 wins in the first two games of the match. Dimond came back to win game three 15-10, but the Panthers closed out the match with a 15-13 win in game four.
Leading the charge for the Panthers was Jenny Carpenter, who picked up 17 attacks and three blocks, Stacia Pfaffe with 14 attacks and five blocks, Laura Tarbox with 11 attacks and three blocks and Laurel Creel with eight attacks.
"I thought Stacia Pfaffe played an all-around solid offensive and defensive game," Kupferschmid said. "The kid was unstoppable -- their defense could not pick her up, and Jenny Carpenter, they couldn't stop her from the outside."
Setting up Skyview's great attacks was a defense that got to just about every ball the Lynx could hit at the Panthers. Jessika Truesdell finished with 35 digs, Shari Isaacs came up with 25 digs, Angel Hollers had 15 digs and Carpenter finished with 26 digs.
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