Kenai Kardinals win first state volleyball championship in program history
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The past few state volleyball tournaments have not been kind to the Kenai Kardinals, who finished runner-up in 2019 and 2021, including a second-place finish at the hands of the Valdez Buccaneers last season (there was no 2020 state tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
With a chance to avenge that loss and bring home the school’s first volleyball state championship, Kenai swept Valdez in three sets to win the 3A title Saturday night.
“It feels so good, it is just like relief,” senior Jorgi Phillips said, who was tabbed the tournament’s best setter. “We have been working so hard through the entire season for this moment.”
“It means so much. Seriously, we have all been trying so hard this season, from the summer, all until now and all four years,” senior Cali Holmes said. “Just being able to do it for our community and not just for ourselves.”
“Last year was a really big loss and Valdez beat us. It was a really tough loss for us and we definitely replayed it and talked about it a lot. My mom has been through it thick and thin. I cried in her arms last year and I hugged her this time with a smile on my face. It is just an amazing feeling for her and me,” junior Emma Beck said, whose mother is head coach Tracie Beck.
”It is a huge thing — to bring a banner home to a community — that we haven’t seen one with the word ‘volleyball’ across it. To be able to do that is indescribable,” Tracie Beck said.
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