Kodiak’s quest for its first Northern Lights Conference volleyball championship since 1996 begins Thursday.

The top-seeded Bears finished regular-season play at 10-0 and received a first-round bye into Thursday evening’s semifinals at Soldotna High School. Kodiak will play either No. 4 Colony (4-6) or No. 5 Wasilla (2-8) at 6 p.m. The winner clinches one of the conference’s three state tournament berths and advances to Friday’s winners bracket championship match at 5 p.m.

Colony and Wasilla split the two-match season series, with the Knights taking the last meeting just a few days ago.

Second seed Palmer plays either No. 3 Soldotna (5-5) or No. 6 Kenai (1-9) in an 8 p.m. semifinal Thursday. Kenai’s only win this season was against Wasilla.

Saturday’s championship match is at 1 p.m. If it is the losing team’s first loss, an “if necessary” match will be played at 3 p.m.

Kodiak has qualified for state the past two seasons. The Bears finished third at last year’s conference tournament.

Soldotna is the defending conference champion, as the Stars ended Palmer’s four-year run on top last year.

Kodiak beat Colony for its only conference title in 1996 — Amy Willis’ first season as coach. That team went finished 18-4 and produced a school-best third-place state finish.

Contact the Daily Mirror sports department at sports@kodiakdailymirror.com.

Northern Lights Conference Championships

Thursday

First round

Game 1 — No. 4 Colony (4-6) vs. No. 5 Wasilla (2-8), 1 p.m.

Game 2 — No. 3 Soldotna (5-5) vs. No. 6 Kenai (1-9), 3 p.m.

Semifinals

Game 3 — No. 1 Kodiak (10-0) vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 4 — No. 2 Palmer (8-2) vs. Game 2 winner, 8 p.m.

Friday

Game 5 — Game 2 loser vs. Game 3 loser, 11 a.m. (loser out)

Game 6 — Game 1 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 1 p.m. (loser out)

Game 7 — Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 5 p.m.

Game 8 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner (loser out), 7 p.m.

Saturday

Game 9 — Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 winner, 10 a.m. (loser out)

Game 10 — Game 7 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 1 p.m. (championship)

Game 11 — If necessary match if Game 9 winner wins Game 10, 3 p.m.

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