The Soldotna Stars had a rough go of it Saturday, dropping a Region III/4A match to the Wasilla Warriors in three games at Soldotna.
The loss came on the heels of a five-game heartbreaker Friday against the Houston Hawks.
"It was hard (to come back Saturday)," said Soldotna coach Pako Whannell, explaining that Friday had been Senior Night, and the loss especially emotional. "All of them looked a little down. Several girls just weren't on today.
"But in that last game, we stuck with it. We showed a little heart, and I'm proud of them for that."
Indeed, Saturday was a tough day for the Stars. Wasilla took the first game 25-16 when Soldotna had trouble getting going. Wasilla blazed to a 25-6 win in the second game, and led 13-0 in game three before the Stars began to show signs of life.
Wasilla's service run finally ended when a serve sailed long, and Allyssa Roach was able to hit seven straight serves to pull the Stars to within five points.
Wasilla was able to close out the match with a 25-16 win, though, and was led by Laurel Creel, a standout for Skyview over the past two seasons.
Creel and her family moved to the Valley this year when her father's position in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District was cut, and she said it was nice to be back on the peninsula.
"It was nice to come home. It was nice to see everybody again," Creel said. "It's kind of difficult coming back here, but I had a lot of friends come and cheer for me. It was fun to talk back and forth (with Soldotna players) through the net."
Creel said that both against Kenai Friday and against Soldotna Saturday, the Warriors expected tough, defensive battles and Wasilla's hitters were focused on looking around and picking the open spots.
In Friday's match against Houston, Whannell said her squad played well, but credited Houston's defensive play for deciding the match.
"Their girls had so much heart on defense, we couldn't put anything down," Whannell said, adding that most of Soldotna's points came from ace serves or errors by the Hawks. "Our defense was picking things up too, so it was a real good match."
Soldotna took the first game in extra points, 27-25, but Houston leveled the match with a 25-13 win in game two.
The Stars won the third game 25-19, but Houston forced a fifth game with a 25-21 win in game four, and the Hawks made off with the match by taking game five 15-8.
Whannell said the Stars would work hard to pick themselves up before Friday's region match at Kenai.
"This week has just been a rough week," Whannell said. "I'm making some changes, and change is hard. We just need to stick with it and it will come."
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