• Unforced hitting, serving errors plague Homer
By Sean Pearson
The Lady Mariner Volleyball Team had a good thing going against the Seward Seahawks in the championship match at the North/South Volleyball in Houston on Saturday. Following a relatively strong showing in pool play on Friday, and a solid 25-23, 25-23 and 25-19 sweep of Anchorage Christian School in semi-final competition Saturday morning, the Lady M’s looked ready to handle just about anything going into the finals.
“We came out strong in the semi-final match and swept ACS in three games,” said Homer Head Coach Beth Trowbridge. “We looked to be heading down that same path against Seward in the championship match, taking the first two sets with strong play and very few errors.”
Looks can be deceiving.
The Lady M’s won the first two games 25-18 and 25-23, before falling in the next three, 15-25, 16-25 and 5-15.
“After the second set, we seemed to lose our focus and began giving away points on unforced hitting and serving errors,” Trowbridge explained. “That, combined with a more aggressive Seward offense, made it hard for us to secure the win.”
Senior Kayla Hutt led Homer in tournament play with an impressive 42 kills for the weekend, followed by Haley Oliver with 26. Zoia Basargin added 17, while Kristie Mastre picked up 11.
Miranda Beach led the team with 10 service aces, followed by Hope Hudson, Oliver and Cayenna Anderson, who each had nine. Caroline DeCreeft and Zoia Basargin each contributed five service aces.
“Serving was strong the entire weekend,” Trowbridge said. “We are beginning to be able to use it as an offensive tool as the players become more consistent while serving aggressively.”
Anderson and Basargin both served at 97 percent for the weekend.
Driving the offense was Caroline DeCreeft with 52 assists, followed by Hudson with 34 and Larsen Fellows with 19. On defense, Oliver dominated the net with nine solo blocks and one block assist. Basargin added four solo blocks of her own, and assisted in two.
Maggie Koplin led in digs with 31, followed by DeCreeft with 23, Anderson, 22, Beach, 17 and Hudson with 12.
Oliver and Anderson were selected by their peers for the All-Tournament team.
The Lady Mariners had already set the stage for the match-up against ACS, having narrowly lost to the Lady Lions in five sets in a conference match on Thursday, before the tourney.
After getting nipped 24-26 and 23-25 in the first two sets of play, Homer rallied back to take the next two sets 25-22, 25-15. The Lady M’s then fell in the tie-breaker fifth set 13-15.
“The teams were really evenly matched, and the sets could have gone either way most of the night,” Trowbridge said.
Oliver led the offense on Thursday with 12 kills, followed by Hutt with nine, Mastre with five and Fellows with four. Strong serving and six service aces each for Oliver and Beach also helped secure a couple of the wins. Hannah Larue contributed four aces, while Anderson and Hudson each had three.
Anderson served at 100 percent for the match, with Hudson serving a consistent 91 percent and logging 17 assists for the night. DeCreeft had eight assists.
Defensively, Beach and Hudson each picked up seven digs, while Koplin and Anderson each added four. Alicia Isenhour led the defense at the net with two solo blocks and one block assist.
Trowbridge said the team’s serve reception was strong, passing at a 90 percent.
“That really helped us run our offense, and not let ACS score too many points off their serve,” Trowbridge added..
Homer traveled to Soldotna to take on the SoHi Stars in a non-conference match last night, but results from that game were not available by press time.
The Lady M’s then take the weekend off, before traveling north to compete in the West High Spiketacular Tournament Sept. 21-22. They return for home play against Skyview on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
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