The Nikiski and Seward volleyball teams recorded three-game victories Thursday in the opening round of the District 3/3A volleyball tournament at Nikiski to set up a showdown tonight.
The Seahawks, the No. 2 seed at the tournament, defeated Susitna Valley 25-12, 25-15 and 25-13. The Bulldogs, the No. 3 seed at the tournament, defeated Anchorage Christian Schools 25-16, 25-15 and 25-15.
Seward and Nikiski will play in the semifinals today at 4 p.m. The winner of the game earns an automatic berth to state. The loser must go and work its way through the third-place bracket to earn a state berth.
In other action Thursday, Houston defeated Heritage Christian 23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-14 and 15-13. Houston will take on No. 1 seed Grace Christian, which had a bye Thursday, in a semifinal match at 6 p.m. In the third-place bracket, ACS will face Su Valley at 2 p.m. today.
District 3/3A Volleyball Tournament
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
at Nikiski High School
Game 1 Houston def. Heritage 23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-14, 15-13
Game 2 Nikiski def. ACS 25-16, 25-15, 25-15
Game 3 Seward def. Susitna Valley 25-12, 25-15, 25-13
Game 4 Houston vs. Grace Christian, 6 p.m.
Game 5 Nikiski vs. Seward, 4 p.m.
Game 6 ACS vs. Susitna Valley, 2 p.m.
Game 7 Heritage vs. Game 5 loser, 9 a.m.
Game 8 Game 6 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 11 a.m.
Third-place match Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 1 p.m.
Championship match Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 3 p.m.
Region III/4A Volleyball Tournament
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
at Colony High School
Game 1 Palmer def. Skyview, 25-17, 25-6, 25-12
Game 2 Wasilla def. Kenai, 25-8, 25-14, 25-13
Game 3 Kodiak def. Homer, 25-18, 25-16, 25-22
Game 4 Colony def. Soldotna, 25-16, 25-14, 19-25 and 25-21
Game 5 Palmer vs. Wasilla, 5 p.m.
Game 6 Kodiak vs. Colony, 7 p.m.
Game 7 Skyview vs. Kenai, 1 p.m.
Game 8 Homer vs. Soldotna, 3 p.m.
Game 9 Game 7 winner vs. Game 6 loser, 11 a.m.
Game 10 Game 8 winner vs. Game 5 loser, 9 a.m.
Third-place match Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 3 p.m.
Championship match Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 5:30 p.m.
Nikiski coach Bruce King said his team was able to triumph Thursday despite the jitters of playing in the big tournament.
"We played well enough to win, but I wouldn't say we played the best match we've played in a while," King said. "I think maybe we were just a little too overexcited about the start of the tournament."
King said the serving of Sasha Auldridge was a big factor in the match. Auldridge had six serve aces and numerous others serves that gave the Lions problems.
Nikiski also received seven kills and five blocks from Krystal Gladden, 12 assists and six digs from Stacey Griffel and eight kills from Georgie Heaverley.
King said his squad will have to play much more consistent today if it is going to top Seward.
"I think that's the key any time you play a team like Seward consistency," King said.
Charlot Main paced the Lions with 10 digs, while Becki Myatt had nine assists.
Seward coach Angela Hammer credited her whole team with the victory over Susitna Valley. Hammer said the Seahawks were charged up and ready to play and had a great offensive game.
Amy Reierson was all over the stat sheet for the Seahawks with 16 assists, two serve aces and three blocks. Also for Seward, Lisa Steinbrecher had five digs and eight kills, Krista Boulden had 17 assists, Jenni Regis had six digs, Kristin Beck had six digs and two serve aces and Lara Loomis had six kills and four blocks.
In the Houston match, Hawks coach Bill Sieben said his team started out overconfident, but pulled through just in time. Cynthia Sieben had 30 assists to lead the Hawks.
Megan Hanks paced Heritage with 20 kills.
It was a tough day for the Southern Division Thursday at Colony in the opening round of the Region III/4A volleyball tournament. The Northern Division teams took all four of their matches against Southern Division teams.
The only team to win a game from the Southern Division was Soldotna, which lost to Colony 25-16, 25-14, 19-25 and 25-21.
In the tournament's other games, Skyview was swept by Palmer, Kenai was swept by Wasilla and Homer was swept by Kodiak.
All of the peninsula's schools still have a shot at the state tournament, but they will have to work their way through the third-place bracket starting today.
Skyview plays Kenai at 1 p.m., while Homer plays Soldotna at 3 p.m.
In the semifinals, Palmer will face Wasilla at 5 p.m. and Kodiak will square off against Colony at 7 p.m.
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