SK can't finish off Vikings

Close, but not quite is a cliché to some.

For the South Kitsap volleyball team, it’s a line that aptly describes this season.

North Kitsap gave the Wolves their second five-game loss in three weeks — 20-25, 25-23, 25-23, 18-25, 17-15 — on Thursday night in Narrows League play.

“You have a bunch of players who were junior varsity last year,” South coach Jessica Anderson said. “We’re still learning to play as a team.”

The Wolves (3-7 overall, 2-5 league) showed both sides in the second game, during which they rallied from a 10-point deficit to cut the Vikings’ lead to 24-23, but couldn’t close the deal.

South also had an opportunity to win the match during the final game when a kill by junior Stephanie Osterdahl gave the Wolves a 14-13 lead.

But North quickly tied the game, 15-all, and then took the lead on a bad serve by the Wolves before middle hitter Cristina Rose won it with a block.

“With rally scoring, you can’t make too many mistakes,” An-derson said. “Serving definitely was a factor — look at how many games were close. If we make a couple more serves, the game could’ve had a different outcome.”

Osterdahl, who had a team-high 14 kills, said the team’s struggles might be related to confidence.

“We get down on ourselves and sometimes it’s too hard to come back,” she said.

She said she struggled with that mentality early in the match.

“At the beginning, I was kind of down on myself because I made a few errors,” she said. “But I rebounded and stuck it out.”

As did her teammates, which Anderson reminded them about after the match.

“I’m proud of them,” she said. “We talked about learning from our mistakes and having the same intensity we played with in the game at practice.”

Anderson was pleased with the performance of her front line, particularly Osterdahl and Jessica Jordan, who had nine kills.

“Those two are starting to run more complicated hits and plays,” she said.

Osterdahl also had eight kills and two blocks, while Jordan and BB Booher served up four aces in a 25-21, 25-19, 25-13 win Tuesday at Mount Tahoma. Cortney Echternach also had 14 assists in that match.

South next has a 4:45 p.m. match Monday at Wilson followed by a 6 p.m. contest Wednesday against Foss. The Wolves close out the regular season Oct. 23 against Bellarmine Prep.

With 15 of the 20 varsity members projected to return next season, the Wolves are hoping to use the final weeks to build experience.

“We have a lot of strength coming back, so we’re excited,” Osterdahl said.

She agreed that next season’s motto will be simple: Finish.

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