Kenai volleyball clinches state berth

The Kenai Central volleyball clinched a third straight berth to the Class 3A state volleyball tournament at the Southcentral Conference tournament Friday at Kenai Central.

The Kardinals, the No. 1 seed from the Southern Division, toppled Houston, the top seed from the north, 25-13, 25-15 and 25-14 to move to Saturday’s final and clinch a state berth.

Kenai will play the Houston-Nikiski winner at 2 p.m. for a second-straight conference championship.

Against the Hawks, Emma Beck had 14 kills and 10 digs, while Cali Holmes had six kills and two aces, Avia Miller had six kills, Jorgi Phillips had 30 assists and two aces, and Kimberly Chanley had 20 digs.

Nikiski, the No. 3 seed from the south, advanced to the semifinal against Houston by ending the season of Homer, the No. 2 seed from south. The Bulldogs won 25-17, 25-20 and 25-20.

With the loss, Homer saw a string of state appearances end at three. Nikiski is assured of at least a top-three finish at the conference tournament. First and second places earn an automatic berth to state, while the third-place finisher is eligible for an at-large bid. The Bulldogs last made state in 2019.

Ashlynne Playle had four kills and eight blocks for the Bulldogs, while Savanna Stock had eight kills and three aces, Avery White had 17 digs and Kailey Stynsberg had 14 digs.

In the first round of the playback bracket early Friday, Seward, the four seed from the south, ended the season of Grace Christian, No. 3 from the North, by scores of 25-23, 25-12 and 25-23. Also, Anchorage Christian Schools, No. 2 from the north, ended the season of Redington, No. 4 from north.

Nikiski then advanced to the Homer match by ending Seward’s season by scores of 25-17, 22-25, 25-23 and 27-25. Alexa Iyatunguk had eight kills, while Ashlynne Playle had 10 kills and 10 blocks, Kailey Stynsberg had 23 digs, Savanna Stock had 16 assists and seven aces, and Maggie Grenier had 16 assists and six aces.

Homer advanced to the match against Nikiski by toppling ACS 25-10, 25-16, 22-25 and 25-14. Izzy Dye had 18 kills and seven aces for the Mariners, while Channing Lowney had 18 kills and Brooke Shafer had 35 assists.

SoHi loses 3-1 to Wasilla

The Soldotna volleyball team saw its season end at the Northern Lights Conference tournament at Wasilla on Friday.

The Stars, the No. 4 seed, lost to No. 2 Wasilla 3-1 in the playback bracket. The scores were 25-12, 21-25, 25-20 and 25-19.

Kenai Central's Jorgi Phillips sets against Houston on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Southcentral Conference volleyball tournament at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)