Skyview's Jordan Grant celebrates a point against Kodiak with Melissa Fay Friday night. The Panthers beat the Bears in four games.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Tradition recoils at dishing out gifts on one’s own birthday, but Skyview senior Melissa Fay enjoyed doing just that Friday at Skyview High School.
Fay had 29 assists as the Panthers defeated Kodiak 25-22, 19-25, 25-14 and 25-17 to finish the regular season 10-0 in the Northern Lights Conference and 14-0 in nontournament matches.
“That’s a nice birthday present 14-0 and 10-0,” said Fay, who turned 18 Friday. “It works for me.”
Skyview seniors Fay, Jennifer Holland, Chelsea Martin, Alex West, Jordan Grant and Claudiii Sohns were all honored before the match for senior night.
“I’m proud of the girls,” Skyview coach Sheila Kupferschmid said. “What they’ve done is tough to do. What makes it really difficult is we don’t really have a big gun.”
As Kodiak saw, however, Skyview doesn’t have many weaknesses, has an excellent setter, and also had the ability to bond together in tough times.
Skyview's Claudiii Sohns gets under the ball Friday against Kodiak.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
“We work really well together,” West said. “We’ve spent a lot of time together. We even went to Reno (a volleyball tournament) together. We’re friends on and off the court. It helps a lot.”
The group is so easy to get along with that Sohns, an exchange student from Germany who didn’t get here until Aug. 25, had no problem mixing with the group.
“The girls are very nice,” Sohns said. “They made it very easy.”
In the first game, Skyview grabbed a 20-11 lead only to watch Kodiak come back to make it 23-22. Holland made a big play when she got a kill off a bad Kodiak pass, then Missy Massey closed the game with an ace.
Kodiak (7-4 overall, 6-3 NLC), much like Skyview, plays good defense and serves the ball very well. Despite missing key middle hitter Alysa Horn and another varsity starter, the Bears were able to take the second game.
“We didn’t pass very well in the second game,” Grant said. “We lost focus. After the game was over, we shook it off and were able to move forward.”
Skyview controlled games three and four by quickening its own offense while increasingly honing in on Kodiak’s offensive tendencies.
West, who led Skyview with 13 kills, got a lot of clean looks due to the tight chemistry she has with Fay. Fay also was able to get shoot sets to other attackers to keep Kodiak’s defense guessing.
“Skyview runs a quick attack,” Kodiak coach Rick Carman said. “Our blockers had trouble tracking the ball.”
Massey added seven kills for Skyview, while Holland and Brittney Meyer had five each.
Carman said his team also likes to run quick attacks to Horn. With Horn nursing an injury, the Skyview defense was able to focus in on other attackers. In the fifth game, Kodiak had a hard time getting attacks to touch the floor.
Kupferschmid said West, Massey and Meyer were putting up a good block, while Martin was doing a good job digging up hard shots. Massey had six blocks, while West had four blocks. Holland was 25 of 27 on digs, Sohns was 14 of 18 on digs and Martin was 24 of 27 on digs.
“I think that was because of heart,” Martin said. “We picked up on their tendencies throughout the match, but we also realized that we were playing the last game on our floor, and we wanted to pick up everything off the floor.”
For Kodiak, Roweena Yamat had 34 digs and seven kills while Emily Garner added eight kills.
Skyview will be the No. 1 seed from the Southern Division when play opens at the NLC tournament in Kodiak on Thursday.
“We figured it’d be a good season but not this good of a season,” Holland said. “It’s been because we, as a team, work so well together.”
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