Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 2:52 PM on Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lady Mariners set themselves up for promising season of volleyball action

By Norm Anderson
For the Homer News

Another Mariners' volleyball season is under way under the watch of longtime Coach Beth Trowbridge. As she has proven in the past, a successful team is created through pre-season practices, camps and tournaments to prepare for the regular season and conference games.

With a three-match loss last weekend to Seward in their first regular season game, the Mariners took charge in their first home game, which was against Kenai Tuesday, winning 3-1.

While Kenai won the first match 25-21, the Mariners did not let up in the ensuing three matches, racking up scores of 25-15 in the second match, 33-31 in the third match and 25-14 in the final match.

This year the Mariners held a volleyball camp Aug. 6-9, hosting two coaches that have been All-American as well as international volleyball players.

"It was a four-day camp, eight hours a day, and it was a top-notch camp," Trowbridge said. "We had almost all of the girls together in the camp reviewing skills and getting motivated for the season."

Trowbridge noted that the girls were introduced to some new offensive plays and ways to attack the ball. In addition to the preparatory camp, the Ms also hosted their annual jamboree earlier this month. These games do not count on their record; the tournament is a way to get the players some competitive action against teams that they will see during the rest of the season.

Having placed fourth out of the seven teams, Trowbridge was satisfied with the jamboree.

"We were right up there with Soldotna, Skyview and Kodiak. I was very happy with how we did and it gives me the opportunity to see who knows where they're going and where everybody is at," she said.

After years of talk about a division change, the program was granted their wish this year, adjusting from 4A to 3A division. Although they have a similar schedule to the years past, they will be ranked in a new conference, and go to a different regional tournament at the end of the season.

In previous years, Homer was the smallest school in the 4A division so this will put a new perspective on their rankings and post season opportunities.

With nine seniors on the varsity squad, the Mariners seek to have a solid rotation and leadership. Kayla Hutt will be called upon as the powerhouse from the outside and as Hailey Oliver persists on improving her offensive attacks, it will compliment her defensive presence up front.

Another senior, Caroline DeCreeft, has been the Mariners defensive specialist for the last two years but will be called upon as the setter as the season goes on.

"She grew up in the gym playing volleyball. This is a great year for her to shine as a player," said Trowbridge.

Miranda Beach, who has been playing volleyball for seven years, is excited for her senior year and shared her upcoming goals.

"This season our team goal is to finish it off. We've had a lot of instances in the past where our team has come so close in games but hasn't been able to get the win. This season we just need to be comfortable with our skills and playing abilities in order to close out, finish strong, and win."

The volleyball team plays away this weekend, facing Grace Christian School on Saturday.