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High School Sports

Homer Mariners capture first volleyball crown since 1990

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: November 16, 2019
  • Published November 16, 2019
Homer celebrates after defeating Kenai Central for the Class 3A state volleyball championship at the Alaska Airlines Center. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

Three decades after winning their first state volleyball championship, the Homer Mariners captured their second.

Homer came through the losers bracket Saturday to claim the Class 3A state title at the Alaska Airlines Center.

Once they reached the finals, the Mariners defeated Kenai Central in five sets to force the if-necessary game, and won it too.

Homer coach Stephanie Carroll said her team didn’t know until recently that so many years had passed since the school won its first state volleyball championship in 1990.

“When we realized that … it had been that long, we realized this is the year — we’re putting another banner up. Thirty years is too long,” Carroll said. “That was our goal, to come and get one.”

Homer's Kitri Classen bumps the ball. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

The Mariners ended the long drought by beating a Kenai Central team that was looking for its first championship.

Marina Carroll ripped 30 kills and Laura Inama slammed 20 against the Kardinals. Kelli Bishop handed out 40 assists to help Homer get past Kenai Central 11-25, 25-14, 25-16, 12-25, 15-8 in the championship match and 30-23 in the if-necessary game.

“We actually did expect it to go to an if-game today,” Stephanie Carroll said. “We knew it would be a battle against Kenai and Nikiski. We just fought, and I’m so proud they never gave up and just stayed in it the whole time.”

Homer swept Nikiski earlier Saturday, 25-20, 25-16, 25-23, to advance to the final match against the Kards.

Bishop and Marina Carroll are among four seniors on the Homer squad, along with Karmyn Gallios and Kitri Classen.

Kenai's Chelsea Plagge and Abby Every try to block an attack by Homer's Marina Carroll. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

“I started off as an assistant coach with these seniors,” Stephanie Carroll said. “They had a different head coach every year and this year it was me.”

The seniors have played at the varsity level since they were sophomores, Stephanie Carroll said, “so they’ve been through rough patches where they were the underdog.”

The eight-team, double-elimination tournament was a showcase for the Southcentral Conference. All three teams that were still standing after two days of competition — Homer, Kenai and defending champion Nikiski — come from that conference.

Eight of the 12 all-tournament picks also came from the Southcentral Conference — Carroll, Inama and Bishop from Homer; Abby Every and Bethany Morris from Kenai; and America Jeffreys, Kaitlyn Johnson and Kaycee Bostic from Nikiski.

Homer's Tonda Smude defends a shot by Kenai's Bethany Morris. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

ASAA/First National Bank state volleyball tournament

Class 3A

Saturday’s results

Homer def. Nikiski 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 23-25, 25-14)

Championship — Homer def. Kenai 3-2 (11-25, 25-14, 25-16, 12-25, 15-9

If-necessary game — Homer 30, Kenai 23

Friday’s results

Winners bracket

Kenai def. Nikiski 3-1 (25-9, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19)

Losers bracket

Barrow def. Valdez 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 27-25) (loser out)

Monroe def. Kotzebue 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 27-25) (loser out)

Homer def. Barrow 3-0 (25-6, 26-24, 25-6 (loser out)

Sitka def. Monroe 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-20) (loser out)

Homer def. Sitka 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-23) (loser out)

All-tournament team

America Jeffreys, Nikiski

Abby Every, Kenai

Bethany Morris, Kenai

Chloe Maynard, Monroe

Chloe Morrison, Sitka

Marina Carroll, Homer

Jenicee Donovan, Barrow

Kaitlyn Johnson, Nikiski

Kelli Bishop, Homer

Kaycee Bostic, Nikiski

Laveah Makisi, Kotzebue

Laura Inama, Homer

The Mariners celebrate a point during the title match. (Loren Holmes / ADN)