Volleyball rivals Soldotna and Skyview met Saturday at Soldotna for a grueling, competitive series of Region III/4A games that ended in a five-game victory for the Stars.
So fierce was the competition in each game that the rivalry seemed almost visceral. But that spirit was as much the product of the volleyball season as it was an innate sense of hometown rivalry -- with Sat-urday's victory, Soldotna now holds wins for three out of four Soldotna-Skyview matches this year.
Saturday's action began with a solid win for Soldotna. Sky-view's Christina Colvin seemed to be leading the team to catch the Stars, bringing the score to 10-7 Soldotna. The Stars fought for their victory but gave up only one additional point, ending the game at 15-8.
The next two games were much more tense and ended with wins for the Panthers. The second game saw a nearly constant change of control of the ball, until Colvin served for six points, bringing the score to 10-5. The Panthers continued to rack up points, bringing the score to 13-5 before Soldotna's Rachel Besse scored. The Stars rallied to close the gap, but the effort came too late, and Skyview won the game 15-12.
The third game also was close, with the two teams matching points right to the agonizing, protracted end that drew loud cheers and other exclamations from an already animated and enthusiastic crowd. The Panthers won the game 16-14.
Scoring in the fourth game was steady on both sides, and the teams were tied 6-6 before the Stars left the Panthers far behind. The Stars earned seven unanswered points. Skyview's Angel Hollers finally broke that trend, scoring and bringing the score to 13-7. Panther Amanda Bauer scored two more points before the Stars won, 15-9.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Soldotna's Hillary Zobeck comes short of the ball on a dive to the floor in the third game against Skyview Saturday night.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
In the final game the Stars were the clear victors. The Panthers scored first, but quickly lost the lead as Soldotna scored 10 unanswered points. The Stars won the game 15-5.
Soldotna coach Ron Becker had praise for both teams.
"I thought both teams played really hard," Becker said.
"Both of us really went after it," he said. "That's what high school athletics is all about."
Stars player Danielle Kerrone was pleased with her team's performance.
"We played really good," she said. "We kind of got down in a couple of games. We fought back and didn't let that bother us."
Soldotna's regional record is now 5-2.
Skyview played Wasilla Friday. The Panthers lost, 3-2. Wasilla won the first game 15-10, then lost to the Panthers 17-15. Wasilla won the third game 15-4, and Skyview won the fourth 15-9. Wasilla won the last game 15-10.
Skyview's regional record is now 3 - 5.
Wasilla defeated Homer Saturday 3-0. The scores of the games were 15-12, 15-7 and 15-0.
Soldotna defeated Homer Friday 3-0. The scores of the games were 15-6, 15-6 and 15-5.
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