Hannah Wandersee is known for her play at the net, but on Friday she left the court smiling over a different part of her game.
Kodiak’s middle hitter dished out a career-high three assists in a 25-13, 25-19, 25-12 Northern Lights Conference volleyball sweep of visiting Kenai in the Kodiak High School gym.
After each assist, the junior couldn’t help but flash a smile in the direction of Kodiak coach Amy Willis.
“At practice she lets me practice it, I like it, but she never lets me do it,” Wandersee said.
Her time came Friday in a match Kodiak controlled from the opening serve. The Bears only trailed twice, both times early in the third set.
“I really wanted to let her have an opportunity to play a whole match as a single position and not have to go ‘I’m a middle right now,’’’ Willis said.
After sitting out the first set, Wandersee played the rest of the match as an outside hitter, which gave her a chance to see the court from another prospective.
She was glowing about her three-assist, eight-kill performance.
“I thought they were pretty good — just to go out there and start setting,” said Wandersee, a 2011 first-team NLC middle hitter.
Willis had a different reaction.
“I’m not sure in a fast-pace game situation it is exactly what we need,” she said. “She is OK. She got her hands up there and got three kills for us. That is the setter’s job — make a smart choice on where to set.”
Wandersee was not the only one playing out of position on Friday. Libero RJ Aquino played in the front row, while Carissa Cannon took over Willis’ job of calling Kodiak’s serve placement.
“It is a good opportunity; now they are thinking like coaches,” Willis said. “Every opportunity to play, is an opportunity to learn different things.”
Kodiak broke the first set opening with an 11-3 run that gave the Bears a 20-10 cushion.
The Bears took a 9-2 lead in the second set before the Kardinals tied it at 10. Kodiak used a 10-3 run, including service aces by Aquino and Kalameli Matautia, to take a 20-13 lead.
Kodiak erased a 1-0 and 2-1 deficit in the third to finish the match in less than an hour.
Matautia, a freshman, ended with four aces, while Megan Pyles had eight kills and Kaia Yatsik six kills.
Erica Rodas tallied 12 assists.
Kenai’s Raquelle Reynolds had a match-high 11 kills.
“We really hoped to do this at Homer (Jamboree) and have some opportunities to do some different things, but I didn’t have all my kids with me,” Willis said. “This was a good chance for us to focus on executing some different things.”
Kodiak swept Kenai again on Saturday with a 25-13, 25-13, 25-14 NLC victory.
Pyles led Kodiak with seven kills, while Wandersee added five kills.
Erika Fabricante had four service aces.
Reynolds led Kenai with seven kills.
Kodiak (2-2 NLC, 2-2 overall) is off this week.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.