Mariners show strength as team during Grace volleyball tournament

The Lady Mariners arrived at Anchorage’s Grace Christian School Tournament, one of the biggest volleyball competitions of the year, confident and ready to play. They competed alongside teams from Kodiak, ACS, Valdez, Dillingham, Houston, Mount Edgecumbe, Grace Christian, Monroe Catholic, Seward, Eielsen and Barrow in the three-day tournament. 

JV Coach Lisa Fellows stepped up to coach varsity while Head Coach Beth Trowbridge was away, and was impressed by the team’s tenacity. 

“They have lot of talent and definitely showed Anchorage their ability,” she said. “It was a great opportunity to spend the weekend with the girls and fine tune their game.”

Homer secured three wins against Houston Thursday night. Fellows applauded Hailey Hughes, who was awarded Player of the Night by her team on her performance.

“Hughes came out of dormancy that game,” said Fellows.

Fellows explained the team was prepared going into the tournament to compete against many bigger, “high powered” schools, including Kodiak, which was expectedly tough having just played in the championship game against Dimond at the West Spiketacular Tournament a couple of weeks ago. 

She said Homer’s level of teamwork made her proud.

“(Homer’s) greatest accomplishment was their ability to seamlessly play as a team relying on each other to make the plays. At one point I heard someone in the crowd ask, ‘Who is that team? They are great.’ That made my day,” she said. 

Several players received Fellow’s special spotlight of validation, including Zoia Basargin, who made All Tournament Team.

“Homer has a very talented team this year with strong hitters, blockers and servers,” she said. “Zoia Basargin, Tayla Cabana, Jane Rohr and Larsen Fellows were fierce at the attacks. They mixed up the plays. Kyla Pitzman executed some amazing quick set attacks and blocks, while defensive specialists Maggie Koplin and Brenna Evarts tried their hands at back row attacks. McKi Needham and Larsen’s serves were phenomenal with many consecutive aces.”

Homer played Dillingham, Houston, ACS, Valdez and Kodiak on Friday. They earned the most points against Kodiak, who took first in the tournament, of any other teams that day 15-20, 13-20. 

“Their serves, hits, blocks and defense against Kodiak were amazing,” said Fellows.

On Sunday, the Mariners scored a win against Seward for the first time this season. They lost to Kodiak again, but went three games with Valdez, losing by two in the third game.  

Homer tied for seventh place in the tourney, beating Dillingham, Eielson, Barrow, Houston and Seward.

“The most exciting part of the tournament was beating Seward. We will be facing them on Saturday in Seward, so the rivalry continues,” said Fellows.

Homer will travel to Seward on Saturday; Grace Christian School will play in Homer on Oct. 25 and 26.

Shannon Reid is a freelance writer who lives in Homer.