WASILLA — Soldotna made quick work of Wasilla in a 3-0 win over the Warriors Friday, showcasing one of the Northern Lights Conference’s most experienced team against one of its youngest.
A senior-laden Stars team (10-2 overall, 8-1 conference) maintained it’s grip atop the NLC standings with its 25-8, 25-11, 25-11 win and a 3-1 Saturday victory over Colony High School. Against a young Warriors squad that returned just one varsity player — a sophomore — Soldotna was efficient and quick, never allowing Wasilla to gain any momentum.
That consistent play is what head coach Bruce King said he likes to see, especially playing a team that would be easy to overlook.
“We just make them understand that every time we play a team, it’s a different team, because we don’t know how much they’ve improved from the last time we played them,” King said. “We have to make sure we play consistent volleyball every time we play.”
Leading the way for the Stars was the consistently aggressive net play of Kailee Skjold, who recorded 12 kills and three blocks. Katelynn Kerkvleit had eight kills, while setter Julie Litchfield had nine digs and 17 assists, and libero Natalie Kress had 16 digs. Heidi Westerman also was solid, recording 15 assists, while Emily Schneider posted four service aces.
Skjold set the tone early for the Stars, King said.
“I always like the way Kailee Skjold is aggressive at the net,” he said. “She’s one of the premiere players in the conference. Her shot selection just gets better every time she steps on the court.”
While the Stars are fine-tuning to make a run at the state tournament, Wasilla is trying to find its voice while aiming for the conference tournament, head coach Claudia Farias-Pinard said. Her team’s youth and inexperience showed Friday.
“We played them already, and actually we put up a great game with them before, closer than what we did today,” she said. “My team, we are really young and by being too young, the have too many ups and downs.”
She said the Stars were more aggressive and were able to dictate the temp of the match, while the Warriors stopped communicating on the court.
“I need to get them to talk more,” she said. “It’s like what we practice isn’t coming into the game yet. They’re too shy. That’s one thing we need to break. They need to be more aggressive.”
Cassidy Edwards led the Warriors at the net with three kills and a block, while Ashlyn Dom had a pair of kills and five blocks.
Contact reporter Greg Johnson at email@example.com or 352-2269.