volleyball

Kenai, SoHi to host borough volleyball tourney

Kenai Central and Soldotna high schools will team to host a Kenai Peninsula Borough volleyball tournament Thursday and Saturday.

Homer, Kenai Central, Soldotna, Nikiski and Seward have not been competing in volleyball due to all three major areas of the Kenai Peninsula being at high risk when it comes to the number of COVID-19 cases.

The Seahawks have not been able to play since Oct. 9, when that area went to 100% remote learning. Kenai Central, Soldotna and Nikiski hit that status Oct. 14, while Homer hit that status Oct. 20.

Oct. 13, the Alaska School Activities Association canceled all fall state championship events. However, ASAA did say regions may continue to host regional championships.

At the time, Kenai Peninsula athletic directors said the goal was to still give volleyball teams a season-culminating event.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is allowing the borough volleyball tournament to take place, but specific COVID-19 mitigation and protocols will be in place, according to emails from Jesse Settlemyer, athletic director at Kenai Central, and Kyle McFall, athletic director at Soldotna.

“The tournament is not open to the public in general, instead each athlete is permitted two guests to be in attendance at games in which the athlete is participating,” Settlemyer wrote. “Guests are not permitted to be in attendance for games that their athlete is not participating in.”

McFall also highlighted some other parts of the mitigation plan. Masks must be required at all times for everybody, including participating athletes, officials and spectators. McFall also said a person must be on an approved guest list to gain entry to the school.

The mitigation plan provided by the schools is 4.5 pages long and has the following details:

• Mask wearing by athletes and coaches will be enforced by bench warnings and the possible awarding of a point to the opponent.

• The tournament will have a maximum of 48 spectators. Each team gets 24 spectators, with each rostered varsity player getting two spectators.

• Bleachers will be on only one side of the gym to prevent athletes and spectators from mixing. Athletes and spectators also will use different entrances and exits.

• There will be no shared locker rooms so some classrooms will be used. They will be cleaned according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards before and after usage.

• The gym will be cleared of spectators after every match for 20 minutes to allow for cleaning.

• Screening procedures for advisers, coaches, supervisors, participants and officials prior to each session.

• Game ball will be changed and sanitized every 14 minutes.

The Kardinals will be the top seed, while Homer will be the No. 2, Soldotna will be the No. 3, Seward will be the No. 4 and Nikiski will be the No. 5.

The bracket is as follows:

Thursday’s games

Game 1 — Seward vs. Nikiski, 3 p.m. at Kenai

Game 2 — Homer vs. SoHi, 6 p.m. at SoHi

Game 3 — Game 1 winner vs. Kenai, 5 p.m. at Kenai

Saturday’s games

Game 4 — Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 10 a.m. at SoHi

Game 5 — Game 4 winner vs. Game 3 loser, 11:30 a.m. at SoHi

Game 6 — Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 1:30 p.m. at Kenai

Game 7 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 loser, 3 p.m. at Kenai

Championship — Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 4:30 p.m. at Kenai

If necessary — 6 p.m. at Kenai

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