The Soldotna volleyball team finished up its regular season with a pair of Northern Lights Conference losses at home Friday and Saturday.
Friday, SoHi lost to Colony 25-19, 26-24 and 25-21. Saturday, the Stars lost to Palmer 25-18, 25-21, 18-25, 18-25 and 16-14.
Friday against the Knights, Soldotna got a taste of one of the region's best teams.
"They don't have any really big girls, but they know how to play volleyball," Soldotna coach Pako Whannell said. "They have consistent passing, aggressive serving and they have seven seniors so they play really well together."
Christa Kennedy had 12 kills to lead Soldotna, while Kala Fowler had eight kills and Paige Blackburn added three kills.
Allyssa Roach had nine digs, while Lauren Sennette added three digs. In the setting department, Stacey Foster had 12 assists and nine digs while Megan Needs had 12 digs and seven assists.
In the match against Palmer, the Stars pulled together to nearly overcome a two-game deficit.
In the first game, both teams got off to a slow start on offense. Palmer setter Leslie Berberich was having trouble connecting with her hitters, while the Stars were having trouble passing.
Berberich eventually found a rhythm with Karaline Naegele, who had five kills in the first game, and Ashley Dickerson, who had three kills in the first game.
The Stars have been working a lot in practice on a quicker attack, and in the second game their passing improved and Soldotna started running the quick attack. After some trouble adjusting to SoHi's quicker attack, the Moose eventually steadied and won the game.
Sennette started the third game with five straight service points. The run gave the Stars momentum and also put the Moose in a hole from which they would not escape.
"Lauren Sennette has a good, aggressive top-spin serve," Whannell said. "She has a nice arm swing. She practices that a lot because she wants to be a hitter."
Soldotna kept its momentum going in the fourth game.
"In the third and fourth games, we were running quick sets," Whannell said. "I don't think we had any high sets.
"Kala Fowler and Christa Kennedy also were doing a good job attacking from the back row."
In the pivotal fifth game, the defense of both teams had adjusted to the offense, leading to many long rallies. The game went back-and-forth until Naegele broke a 14-all tie with two booming kills to win the match for the Moose.
Despite the two losses, Whannell is still encouraged heading into the region tournament Thursday in Homer. She said adding freshman Jordan Love to the lineup as a blocker made her team do less digging.
Whannell also said the match against Palmer featured SoHi's best skill and communication of the year.
"I told them that if they play like this, anything's possible," Whannell said.
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