Story last updated at 3:28 p.m. Thursday, September 12, 2002

Mariners net wins
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

photo: sports
  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Mariner volleyballers Gretchen Duggar, No. 6, and Chrissy Eller go up for a block at the net against Kodiak on Thursday night as Holly McCune prepares to dig out the leftovers. Homer won the match 3-0.  
The Homer High School volleyball team opened its season last week by winning two of three matches, including a five-gamer over Kenai on Saturday.

Led by the stellar net play of Chelsea Ward and Holly McCune the Mariners beat the Kardinals 12-15, 15-8, 15-13, 6-15, 15-2 in Kenai on Saturday night, a win that had special significance for McCune.

"It's that much sweeter -- especially against Kenai," said the Homer senior and team captain, who moved down from Kenai following her sophomore year.

Homer coach Beth Trowbridge said it was nice to see McCune's poise against her former team.

"Last year it seemed like whenever we played Kenai she was tense because they were her friends," Trowbridge said. "Now she's much more relaxed and not intimidated at all."

After Kenai tied the match at 2-2, the Mariners jumped out to a 13-1 lead keyed by a seven-point service run from Gretchen Duggar.

  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News Mariner Volley ballers Gretchen Duggar and Chrissy Eller get ready to block.  
Defensively, Trowbridge said McCune was the Mariners' anchor all weekend, anticipating and digging out balls that looked destined to find the floorboards. She totaled 61 digs in the three matches.

The Mariners won their season opener Thursday night over Kodiak in three straight games, but fell to Soldotna 3-1 on Saturday.

In the Kodiak match, Ward stepped up for a big game at the net, stuffing the visiting Bears with seven blocks as the Mariners rolled 15-5, 16-14, 15-12.

The senior middle hitter was also systematic in putting the ball away. Ward tallied 42 kills over the three matches.

"Chelsea does dominate the middle for us," Trowbridge said. "She's doing a good job of seeing where the holes are, playing with a little more savvy and not always just hitting a hard-driven ball."

Against host SoHi the Mariners lost 15-7, 16-14, 15-5, 15-7. Trowbridge said the second-game loss knocked the wind out of the Mariner sails.

Overall, Trowbridge said, she was pleased with how her team played for its opening weekend and was glad the Mariners came away with a pair of wins.

"I was pretty happy about that, though of course it would have been great to start 3-0," she said. "But the region is going to be real tough. It's just going to come down to who makes fewer mistakes or who's more on for a given game."

Trowbridge said she knew that the beginning of the season was going to be the time to iron out the rough edges.

"Things are going to happen in the beginning of the season where we have to learn from our mistakes and figure out how to get over the hump," she said. "But we're going to get there."

McCune said it is encouraging to see this year's Mariners seem to have better depth than previous teams.

"If Chelsea and I are having off days, there's someone else that can step up," McCune said.

Peninsula Clarion reporter Will Morrow contributed to this story.

Sepp Jannotta can be reached at