Both Kodiak and Palmer entered the final week of the regular season undefeated in the Northern Lights Conference.
It was fitting that those two teams collided in the Mat-Su Valley in a pair of matches that decided the top seed for the conference tournament.
When the dust settled, Kodiak emerged as the conference’s only undefeated team.
The Bears swept the Moose Friday 27-25, 25-12, 25-16 and capped a perfect regular season Saturday with a 25-15, 25-18, 19-25, 25-15 victory at Palmer High School.
For the first time in program history, Kodiak finishes regular-season conference play at 10-0 and enters the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed. Palmer (8-2) is the second seed. Both schools get a bye in Thursday night’s semifinal matches at Soldotna High School.
“It seems a little surreal,” Kodiak coach Amy Willis said. “We just try to do the best that we can. These girls have worked really hard to play this level of volleyball. It is just wonderful. I don’t really have words for it — we are just living the dream.”
Kodiak will most likely face either fourth-seed Colony (4-6) or fifth-seed Wasilla (2-8), while Palmer will most likely play either third-seed Soldotna (5-5) or sixth-seed Kenai (1-9). The semifinal winners clinch a state berth.
Hannah Wandersee led Kodiak Saturday with 13 kills and three service aces, while Carissa Cannon and Megan Pyles each knocked down seven kills.
Isabelle Riina had 24 digs and Kalameli Matautia added two blocks.
Palmer’s Mariah McNamara posted 13 kills and 14 digs.
The Moose nearly took Friday’s first set. The home team led 24-20, but Kodiak rallied to take the 26-24 win. The Bears went on to post their eighth conference sweep.
Wandersee had 13 kills and one ace, while Pyles had 11 kills.
“The girls respect Palmer and Palmer brought it to the court and gave us everything they had,” Willis said. “In the long tearm we just outgunned them. We were controlling our shots and giving very few easy balls over the net.”
Kodiak’s C squad lost 25-19 Friday and 18-25, 25-20, 18-16 Saturday, while the junior varsity lost Friday 25-11, 25-18 and won Saturday 28-26, 15-25, 15-11.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.