Sluggish start doesn’t deter SK

South Kitsap’s Stephanie Osterdahl goes up for a block against Shelton on Monday night in Port Orchard. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
South Kitsap’s Stephanie Osterdahl goes up for a block against Shelton on Monday night in Port Orchard.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

t Stepper finishes with team-high nine aces as Wolves dominate Shelton.

South Kitsap High School volleyball coach Jessica Anderson has made blocking the primary focus in recent practices.

And while the Wolves were strong on that score in Monday’s Narrows League match against Shelton, it was the serving that stood out.

Behind junior setter Brittany Stepper, South racked up 13 unanswered points in the second game.

The effort helped SK to a 23-25, 25-9, 25-21, 25-7 win against the Highclimbers.

Stepper finished with nine aces.

“In the second and fourth games, serves really helped us,” Anderson said. “We definitely got on a run with our serves and built momentum off them. It wasn’t that we were getting aces every single time, but they were hard and driven and we were ready when they came back over.”

The Wolves (5-6 overall, 3-4 league) only led once during the first game, 11-10, and trailed by five points three different times.

Anderson attributed some of the slow start to the unusual Monday match.

Narrows teams typically play on Tuesday and Thursday.

“I think in some ways, they weren’t ready to play,” she said. “The feeling wasn’t quite there. We weren’t communicating and things were moving slowly.”

That changed in the second game when South never trailed and built a 17-1 lead at one point.

The game finished when senior middle blocker Stephanie Osterdahl, who had seven kills, spiked the ball out of the reach of diving Shelton defenders.

“That was pretty awesome,” Osterdahl said. “When I get those, it builds the intensity. It kind of gets us going.”

But the momentum didn’t last long.

South took a 3-0 lead, but the Highclimbers went after the Wolves’ defense and took a 14-8 lead before Anderson called timeout.

Junior outside hitter Karinne Nelson, who had a team-high nine kills, helped the Wolves recapture their momentum and South finally took the lead for good at 20-19.

“We talked about covering a little more and people being in the right positions,” Anderson said.

The Wolves’ eight-day stretch between matches is the lengthiest of the season.

Their longest had been six days off last month. They play their final home match of the season at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Wilson.

“It gives a little jump start for the practices,” Osterdahl said. “Wilson is a really big game.”

South’s two-match winning streak ties its season best, which Anderson said is partially due to the team’s improved blocking. Osterdahl’s block ended the match.

“Our blocking definitely has improved,” Anderson said. “We just worked on the fundamentals of blocking.”

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