Sports

Volleyball: South Kitsap falls in three games against Tides

Finish.

That is what South Kitsap volleyball coach Jessica Anderson wants her players to do.

And it was a message she repeated after the Wolves lost 25-19, 25-20, 25-17 against Gig Harbor on Wednesday night in Class 4A Narrows League play.

South (1-4 overall, 0-2 league) held small leads in each of the first two games before the Tides closed them out on a bad serve and a kill by junior outside hitter Ashlyn Schuster.

“We need to learn how to finish,” Anderson said. “It’s a mindset. But they’re coming together.”

Similar to many of the fall-sports teams at the high school, the volleyball program is youthful and Anderson believes they still are learning what it takes to win. The Wolves have only one senior, setter Shelby Jackson, on the roster.

Gig Harbor (7-1, 4-0), which was led by senior middle hitter Emily Blaser’s nine kills, appeared to take advantage of that early in games as well, particularly in the third when it took an 8-0 advantage.

Anderson said the players discussed the slow starts in a team meeting afterward.

“It’s hard to get out of that hole,” she said. “They know how to do it, but there’s only 25 points in a game.”

But Anderson also was proud of how her team responded. The third game appeared like it would result in a blowout before South closed its deficit to 9-6.

“They went out there and battled,” Anderson said. “That’s obvious.”

She also likes the progression her team has shown defensively and in its serving. The Wolves had no more than two blown serves in any of their three games. Anderson said the coaching staff started keeping data on serves during practice and the players can view their percentages on a chart.

Now, Anderson said the focus in practice might shift to offense as South prepares for its next match at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday at Mount Tahoma. Junior middle blocker Maile Keanu had a team-high eight kills, while classmate Sarah Lacey added six as an outside hitter.

Gig Harbor 3, South Kitsap 0

Gig Harbor: Emily Blaser 9 kills; Andrea Farmer 13 digs; Sam North 5 aces, 19 assists.

South Kitsap: Tia Arrowsmith 6 assists, 12 digs; Toni Bell 7 blocks; Tonya Forster 4 kills; Shelby Jackson 12 assists, 12 digs; Maile Keanu 4 blocks, 8 kills; Sarah Lacey 17 digs, 6 kills.

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