Wolves battle on for second

With a single misstep, the South Kitsap Wolves watched aghast as their big hitter, junior Chelsea Hoffman, dropped to the floor in pain as her ankle began to swell minutes into their Olympic College Summer Volleyball Tournament championship match last Thursday night with the Peninsula Seahawks.

With no bench available, the hobbled Wolves pulled together their remaining six players and made a game of it, but the Seahawks lived up to their top seeding and got the win and the trophy 25-21.

“It was a fun way to end the summer,” Peninsula coach Ann Lovrovich said. “It was a great way to end a season and start a season.”

After taking a pool-play loss 25-21 to Central Kitsap, the Seahawks didn’t come close to losing again until the semifinal round, when they came from behind to beat Olympic 28-26. The Trojans finished the tournament in third place, the same position as during the summer season.

“That was a really, really close game,” Trojan Bryanne Hoemer said.

Olympic coach Roy Salas wasn’t disappointed in his team’s performance.

“Our focus this summer has been on working as a team,” Salas said. “We’ve been playing together and letting things flow as they flow.

“I’m just glad (OC volleyball coach) Tobie Moore put this league together. I hope they do it every year.”

Hoffman was able to walk out of the gym at the end of the championship game but still remained positive about the Wolves’ chances this year.

“I feel good because these are the teams we’ll play in the regular season,” Hoffman said. “And as good as we are now, we’ll be twice as good when (SK coach) Cathy Gangnes gets ahold of us. She just makes us better players and a better team.”

North Kitsap coach (and 1997 alumna) Carley Noaker said the whole experience was about having a good time and tuning up for the high school season.

“They’re out there to have fun,” said Noaker, a volunteer. “I wanted to get them ready for the high school season and just have fun. It’s their summer after all.”

Long-time CK coach Gordy Bushaw said the whole league has been “low key” and he doesn’t have his girls run any set plays like they would do in the regular season.

“It’s just a good thing to play in the summer and play competitively,” Bushaw said. “Peninsula has been the No. 1 team throughout the summer so we were pleased to beat them in the first round.”

The Lady Knights of Bremerton gained respect when they shucked their losing ways (0-8 during the season) with a 25-21 win in pool play against the CK junior varsity. They just weren’t able to share the victory with their coach, Tina Preece, since she was out of town on vacation.

“It was a team-coach situation,” junior Jamie Coombe said. “It wasn’t too bad because we won.”

This was the first time Bremerton’s played during the summer and the team has benefitted from the additional court time. Coombe predicted that the Knights won’t be a pushover when the regular season starts.

“This will be one of the better seasons for Bremerton volleyball,” Coombe said.

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