• Four Homer players named to All-Tournament Team
By Sean Pearson
Some things are hard to finish: A 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle; a Tolstoy novel; the last item on your to-do list.
The Lady Mariners know a little something about the difficulties of finishing a volleyball game. But that’s all in the past.
Homer Head Coach Beth Trowbridge has struggled all season to keep her team calm, focused and consistent late the game. It didn’t come easily — but it did come at a good time in the season.
“Once our team loses, it’s hard for us to come back out and win,” explained senior defensive specialist Maggie Koplin. “Actually, it’s hard for us to finish a game at all, but we really took on the challenge this weekend.”
The Lady Mariners came out on top of their annual Peninsula Challenge Volleyball Tournament over the weekend. Five teams competed in round-robin play on Friday to determine seeding for Saturday’s double-elimination tournament. Homer varsity was the No. 2 seed with a record of 5-3.
The Lady Mariner varsity squad beat Kenai’s junior varsity in the first round of the tourney, and moved on to face Kenai’s varsity. Kenai won 18-25 and 19-25.
Once again, Homer stepped up to face Kenai’s JV, toppling the young Kards 25-9, 25-20. That win put the Lady M’s into the championship match, where they again played the Kenai varsity.
These games, however, would finish quite differently than the previous ones, with Homer winning in three sets, 25-19, 17-25 and 15-7.
Because this was Kenai’s first loss, however, Homer had to beat them once more in a final playoff set to 25 points.
The M’s continued to play strong, as they finished the game with a 25-19 win and the top spot in the tourney.
“I can’t say there was really any magic pep talk going on, as entertaining as I feel like that would have been,” Koplin said. “But I have to say, overall, the weekend went great. Our team really stepped it up and you could tell. It was nice to finally be able to say we wo something.”
Homer had four of 10 players selected for the All-Tournament team, including Tayla Cabana, Zoia Basargin, Larsen Fellows and Maggie Koplin.
Cabana had the team high of 56 kills for the weekend, followed by Zoia Basargin with 41. Kyla Pitzman added 24, while Larsen Fellows had 14.
Trowbridge said she was also pleased with the team’s serving performance.
“Maggie and Kyla served tough,” she said. “Each had 10 service aces, and Maggie served at 96 percent.”
Cabana and Fellows each had nine service aces, followed by Basargin with seven. McKi Needham had five aces with a 98 percent serving record. Trowbridge said she missed only one serve the entire weekend.
Defensively, Pitzman and Basargin each had four solo blocks at the net. Fellows had 73 setting assists, followed by Needham with 56.
Koplin led the team in defense with 52 digs, followed by Zoia with 21.
Koplin said she was very impressed by her team’s play over the weekend; especially in the last game against Kenai.
“Kenai is a strong team, but we just locked down on their weaknesses and used our strengths,” she said. “We stayed consistent and played with intensity. It felt good to say we’re the champions.”
The Lady M’s faced Soldotna in a non-conference match Tuesday evening, but results were not available by press time.
Homer will play in the Alice Witte Alumni match this Friday, followed by a non-conference match against Kenai on Saturday.
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