The Homer Mariner volleyball team suffered an emotional loss to Kenai Central High School on senior recognition night Tuesday.
The Kardinals won the Southcentral Conference match 3-0 in three close, intense sets during the last home game for the Mariners — the last time the team’s four seniors (Kelli Bishop, Karmyn Gallios, Kitri Classen and Marina Carroll) would take to their home court.
With set scores of 25-20, 25-22 and 25-22, Kenai advanced to 9-3 in the league, which Homer dropped to 5-3.
Head Coach Stephanie Carroll said she wasn’t sure if it was the high emotions of it being senior night that distracted the team.
“We’ve kind of just been in kind of a slump,” she said of the Mariners. “We’ve kind of hit that point in the season where they’re really fighting to bring their energy and their focus to practice, and it shows in games.”
Carroll said things like service errors, lack of communication and hitting errors all tally up fast, and that the team will have to clean those up if they want a shot at making it to the state tournament later this season.
“I hope this was a wakeup call that our work we put in at the beginning of the season has to continue,” she said.
Kenai Coach Tracie Beck said the Kardinals did a good job of keeping their heads down and not letting the high stakes of another team’s senior night get to them.
“I think they just kept their heads stuck to the game plan, and it worked,” she said.
The Mariners now move on to play Redington Jr./Sr. High School on Friday and Houston High School on Saturday.