• Coach says she feels her Lady M’s gave 100 percent
By Sean Pearson
The Homer Lady Mariner Volleyball Team ended its 2012 season with a Saturday exit from the Regional Tournament in Cordova following a loss to the Seward Seahawks.
“We didn’t make it into the top three, but we had our best showing at a regional tournament in a long time,” said Homer Head Coach Beth Trowbridge. “We played hard and ended up with a 1-2 record.”
A tournament highlight for the Lady M’s was handing the Grace Christian Grizzlies their first loss of a set in a conference match.
“We took a game away from them on Friday, but ultimately lost in four,” Trowbridge said. “We then beat Cordova in three the next morning in one of our best-played matches of the season.”
The Skyview Panthers went on to win the conference title, followed by Nikiski in second and Grace in third. Skyview beat Grace in four sets in Friday night’s semifinals.
“We like to think we were responsible for putting that little glimmer of doubt in Grace’s mind when we took that set away from them,” Trowbridge said. “They went into the tournament undefeated.”
A total of eight teams participated in the tournament, with Homer finishing tied a fifth.
The Lady M’s played hard in their loss to Grace, making amazing defensive saves and using aggressive offensive play in the 16-25, 25-23, 15-25 and 18-25 loss.
Hutt logged nine kills for the game, followed by Haley Oliver with four. Kristie Mastre and Larsen Fellows each added three kills, while Hudson leveled six service aces against the Grizzlies. Defensively, Zoia Basargin picked up two solo blocks, while Oliver and Hutt each added one. Caroline deCreeft dished up 10 assists, and Maggie Koplin led the way in the back row with five digs.
“We struggled with serve receive passing in the first set and let Grace score too many points on their tough serving,” Trowbridge noted. “I was proud of the team’s ability to make corrections, and they came out much stronger in the second set.”
The loss to Grace put Homer in the losers’ bracket, where they faced Cordova on Saturday morning.
Trowbridge said her girls came ready to play, sweeping Cordova in three sets, 25-23, 25-16 and 25-15.
“It was a completely offensive game, as we set the pace and did not let up,” she explained. “Our hitters were ‘on,’ making very few errors and putting up a strong attack.”
Hutt again led the offensive effort for Homer with eight kills. She was followed by Basargin with seven, Oliver with six, Mastre with five, Tayla Cabana with four and Larsen Fellows with two. Back-row attack kills by Hudson and Miranda Beach added a few more points to the mix.
The Lady M’s made only five service errors in the entire match, and put up a defense at the net that caused Cordova to struggle to mount a solid attack. Decreeft had 15 assists, followed by Hudson with 12.
The win put Homer up against Seward for a chance at third place, but Trowbridge said her team was unable to muster up the same level of relaxed focus and played with too much intensity.
“We committed a lot of hitting, setting and digging errors,” she said. “I think the girls were playing too hard and had a difficult time settling down and allowing themselves to get into a rhythm.”
Homer lost the match 14-25, 11-25 and 18-25. Hutt had seven kills for the game, followed by Basargin with six.
Beach led the team with three service aces, while Cayenna Anderson, Hudson, Hutt and Basargin all served at 100 percent. Cabana was aggressive at the net with two solo blocks and one assist, while Decreeft picked up 10 setting assists.
“I was very happy with our level of play and, although I would have liked for us to give Seward a better match, I am proud our girls didn’t give up,” Trowbridge said. “All along, they have kept working hard to improve and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”
Trowbridge said she felt her players gave 100 percent, and had grown a lot as players, as well as a team.
“While the graduation exit of so many seniors will leave an enormous hole in the team, the returning players will be strong and solid,” Trowbridge said. “We will have some good success to build on.”
Many Lady Mariners had personal-best accomplishments for the weekend. Hutt had a team-high 24 kills and a 35 percent kill efficiency, while Hudson had a strong showing with 11 service aces and 94 percent serving.”
“Although we ended the season falling short of our goal to reach the state tournament, our weekend at Regions was full of personal and team successes,” Trowbridge said. “We finished the tournament with the satisfaction of knowing we took a set away from the No. 1 seed, who hadn’t lost a set in conference play all season.”
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