Mariners in top half of Grace Tournament

Homer traveled to the Grace Tournament in Anchorage for a weekend full of action.

On Friday, the Mariners joined the round-robin play for seeding into a double elimination tournament on Saturday. They ended Friday with a third-place 5-5 record in their group. By the end of Saturday, they were fifth of the 12 teams at the tournament, ahead of Grace Christian, Anchorage Christian, Houston and Seward schools, all from the same conference as Homer.  

Friday Homer won against ACS 20-9; against Kotzebue 20-13 and 20-15; and against Houston 20-10 and 20-18. 

“We felt good about how we played on Friday night except for a lapse in focus against ACS which caused us to split with them. … Our goal for the night was to come out strong in both sets and not let down after a win in the first set.  We were able to do this better against Kotzebue and then finished the night giving Kodiak a great challenge in our last said sets,” Homer Head Coach Beth Trowbridge said in an email.

Also in Friday play, Homer lost to Monroe 20-15 and 20-16; to ACS 19-21, and to Kodiak 21-19 and 20-13.

Following a Saturday loss to Lathrop, a 4A School from Fairbanks, Homer came out strong against ACS, according to Trowbridge. They took control in game two against ACS and pulled out 23-21 and 20-14 wins. 

With more consistent attacking and fewer errors and solid passing, the win against ACS put Homer up against Grace Christian, according to Trowbridge. Homer beat Grace 20-17 and 21-19

“We played one of our best sets of games against Grace… The team was focused and played with an intensity that was great to see” Trowbridge said. 

Jane Rohr and Larsen Fellows drove the offense with strong and aggressive hitting, Trowbridge said. Kyla Pitzman and Maryhana Bowe put up strong blocks, Malina Fellows kept plays alive with consistent hitting and added a couple of kills to the sets, according to Trowbridge.  Strong serving by McKi Needham with three aces for the match and Maggie Larue with two aces helped secure the win. Needham and Larue both led in defense as well with Needham digging up 11 attacks and Larue with six digs.

It was a hard fight against Grace, according to Trowbridge. The win put them onto the court next with Kodiak. Homer lost 20-15 and 20-11. 

“The girls were exhausted and while they played well against Kodiak, they just ran out of steam and couldn’t pull out the win,” Trowbridge said. 

Offensively, Rohr led the team with 34 kills, followed closely behind by Larsen Fellows with 31 for the weekend. Pitzman added 13, Malina Fellows had 12, Bowe had eight and Needham rounded out the attacking with four kills. Needham finished the weekend with a total of 77 assists and led with 15 aces of the 48 aces the team had for the weekend. Larue had nine. Sisters Larsen and Malina Fellows each had eight aces. Rohr added five aces, and Bowe had three aces for the weekend.

Tuesday night they were home again, playing Nikiski. The Mariners won the first two matches, lost the third, and finished with a victory in the fourth:  25-22, 25-14, 25-23, 25-19.

Rohr had 12 kills and four service aces. Kayla Pittman added eight. Larsen Fellows had 12 kills and six service aces. Needham each had four aces. Larue had 20 digs. 

There’s still work to be done, according to Trowbridge. 

“We will be continuing to work on cutting down on our hitting errors and running a more aggressive offense.  We would like to see our hitters hitting at a much higher efficiency rate, closer to 20 percent rather than the 5 percent they are averaging at this time… We will also continue to work on our mental toughness especially in matches where we have to set the pace,” said Trowbridge.

The regular volleyball season has just three weeks left. After a week off, Homer will host the “Play Like Crazy” community volleyball tournament and the HHS alumni vs. the varsity match on Oct. 25. The regular season will close with two conference home matches against Grace Christian Schools and Houston.