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South Kitsap tames Tigers in league opener | Volleyball

TACOMA — South Kitsap coach Jessica Olsen wants her team to display confidence — a swagger — out on the court.

She told them to finish.

It took a little longer than Olsen hoped, but the Wolves eventually accomplished that with a 25-15, 25-13, 15-25, 25-15 win Tuesday at Stadium in the Class 4A Narrows League volleyball opener.

After dominating the Tigers during the first two games, Olsen brought up Thursday’s rivalry match at Central Kitsap. She said she wanted South (2-0 overall, 1-0 league) to develop confidence to finish out matches.

“Perhaps it was my fault that we got ahead of ourselves,” Olsen said.

Instead, the Wolves responded by falling behind 10-1.

“It was hard to dig ourselves out,” she said.

But South was determined not to repeat its match from last year against Stadium when the Wolves won the first two games only to drop the final three and lose the match.

This time, South took an 8-1 lead in the fourth game. The Tigers gradually cut into the lead — they cut their deficit to 12-8 — before outside hitter senior Toni Brown-Bell scored kills on three of the next four points. Brown-Bell finished with three aces, 10 digs and 11 kills.

“She definitely came alive in the fourth game,” Olsen said.

Senior middle blocker Megan Murnane helped the Wolves finish out the match from there as she had a couple of her team-high 18 kills.

Junior setter Mikaela Strutz had 43 assists, while classmate Hannah Spohn, an outside hitter, added a pair of aces and 11 digs.

Olsen said one emphasis in practice this week has been defense, which was an area of concern entering the season. She said players worked on positioning and the setup.

“I think it’s coming along,” Olsen said.

While she said the outcome of the third game left her dissatisfied, Olsen said she is hopeful South can carry the momentum from Wednesday’s 21-25, 25-23, 25-18, 22-25, 15-10 season-opening win at Sequim and Stadium.

“It’s a good league game to start with,” she said.

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