The Skyview volleyball team, fueled by a large senior night crowd, defeated rival Soldotna Tuesday 25-11, 25-21 and 25-22 in Northern Lights Conference action.
The Skyview gym was about half full to honor seniors Cady Bon, Kendra Groves, Amber Kunz and Kim Massey on their home floor.
"We wanted to play really well," Bon said. "It was our last chance to play Soldotna as seniors. We had more fans here because it was a big game for all of us."
Bon immediately set out to help the Panthers avenge a loss to Soldotna that came early in the season. In the first game, Bon had seven kills and Skyview notched a 25-11 win.
"They didn't touch her because she was just ripping them off," Kunz said.
Soldotna coach Pako Whannell said Skyview setter Melissa Fay was getting the ball outside to Bon quickly in that first game and it took the Stars a game to adjust.
"In the last two games, Soldotna really started to play some defense," Skyview coach Sheila Kupferschmid said after her team improved to 8-5 overall and 3-1 in the NLC. "Whenever you play Soldotna, you know it's going to be a hard-fought match."
Soldotna's Christa Kennedy, who would finish with six kills, got going in the second game. She had a kill to cut Skyview's lead to 22-20. However, Skyview's offense kicked into gear and Fay, Amy Arestad and Bon had kills to close the game.
"We're hitting a lot harder than we were earlier in the year," Bon said. "We're also mixing it up more."
The third game belonged to Skyview's Anna Bonebrake and Michelle Hicks. The Panthers were down 11-6, even though the Stars had already missed on four serves, before a Soldotna hitting error gave the serve to Hicks. She had seven service points to give the Panthers a 14-11 lead.
"She was cracking that thing," Kupferschmid said. "Whenever you can get service points it helps conditioning-wise and it also helps with the intensity."
Bonebrake took it from there, getting give kills after the end of Hicks' service run to help the Panthers close out the match.
"I told Michelle Fay, my setter, to go to Anna and let her close out the match for us," Kupferschmid said. "She was able to do that for us."
Bon ended up with 13 kills and 10 digs, while Bonebrake had 10 kills and six blocks. Kunz had 14 digs, Jennifer Holland had 14 points serving and Hicks had 15 points serving.
Whannell said she was not disappointed with her team. She is happy the squad was able to stay together during Skyview's emotionally charged night.
"We definitely gave good effort," Whannell said. "All the girls were up on the bench cheering and giving positive support. That helped us stay in the game and keep it tight in the second and third games."
Kala Fowler added four kills for the Stars, while Paige Blackburn, Dani Donaldson and Kennedy were able to collect a few blocks each.
"Skyview did a good job of running a quick offense," Whannell said. "That's what we've been working on."
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