Homer sophomore Marina Carroll watches as teammate Kelli Bishop sends the ball into Nikiski’s court Tuesday night at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer sophomore Marina Carroll watches as teammate Kelli Bishop sends the ball into Nikiski’s court Tuesday night at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer earns spot at volleyball state championships

After a season of growth and a third-place finish at last week’s Southcentral Conference volleyball tournament in Anchorage, the Homer volleyball team is headed to the state championships.

The Mariners earned a spot at the Class 3A state volleyball tournament through an at-large berth, awarded after the conference tournament and based on the team’s overall season performance. Only two teams, the two that take first and second in the Southcentral Conference tourney, get automatic state berths. Those went to Nikiski High School, which won the conference tournament, and Grace Christian, which came in second.

Homer placed third by defeating Kenai Central High School in a three-game sweep on the second day of the tournament. The last time Homer saw the inside of a state championship tournament was 2015.

Coach Sara Pennington said that while anything can happen, her team was pretty confident it would be chosen for the at-large berth by the Alaska School Activities Association.

“We actually had a really good feeling that we would be the team,” she said. “…The other schools that were also being looked at, we had beat in tournament play, so that kind of put us ahead.”

The Mariners won their first conference tournament game against Houston 3-0, with scores of 25-11, 25-12 and 25-12. That was in the first round on Friday. They moved on to face Grace later that day, and fell 1-4 with scores of 25-19, 16-25, 15-25 and 21-25.

Pennington said she had expected her team to beat Houston, and that they would have preferred to make it to the final round of the tournament. She said her players started strong against Grace, and that she was proud of them for coming back to place third after losing to them.

They defeated Seward High School in a five-game set to move into the third-place game against Kenai. The scores against Seward were 25-20, 25-17, 25-27, 18-25 and 15-9. The Mariners went on to claim third place overall by beating Kenai 25-15, 25-17 and 25-13.

“I’m really glad that they were able to still come out third, because a lot of times it’s hard to come back after having lost the game that was ‘the’ game,” Pennington said.

Heading into the state championship this weekend, Pennington said several of the players are working through injuries and illness.

“They’re really excited,” she said. “And I just hope that they look at it as more of an opportunity, and not look down on themselves if we get knocked out the first round.”

Homer will begin by playing Valdez at 1:30 p.m. today at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

More in Sports

Anthony Botello fishes for halibut off the coast of Homer, Alaska, on Sept. 6, 2021. (Camille Botello)
Out of the Office: Fish on!

I was pretty spoiled as a kid. The chest freezer in our… Continue reading

The Kenai Central High School women’s cross country team finishes in second place with 58 points at Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Boonstra repeats as Division II champ

Kenai Central’s Jayna Boonstra raced her way to another Division II state… Continue reading

Sports in brief

Volleyball Upcoming meets: TBA Thursday, Oct. 14: Varsity Volleyball at Juneau Tourney… Continue reading

Olympic gold medalist Lydia Jacoby waves to the crowd in Seward during her celebratory parade on Thursday, August 5, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Jacoby nabs two 2nds at World Cup

Lydia Jacoby, a 17-year-old senior at Seward High School, finished second in… Continue reading

Homer, Soldotna notch volleyball wins

The host Homer volleyball notched a 3-0 Southcentral Conference victory over Nikiski… Continue reading

Nikiski's Savanna Stock receives serve against Anchorage Christian Schools on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Volleyball roundup: Homer beats GC and ACS

Homer 3, Grace Christian 0 The host Mariners quickly rebounded from their… Continue reading

Sports in brief

Cross Country Upcoming meets: Noon Saturday, Oct. 9: Cross Country at State… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Brooke Ashley and Homer's Nevaeh Diaz tangle at the net at Kenai Central High School on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai, Seward get 5-set wins

The host Kenai Central volleyball team pulled off a massive comeback to… Continue reading

Author Kathleen Sorensen (252) and the rest of the field take off from the starting line at the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Tangled Up in Blue: Three halves

I ran my third Kenai River Half Marathon this weekend. I remember… Continue reading

Most Read