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Vikings crush Wolves in season opener
POULSBO – In a sport known for its back-and-forth nature, Wednesday’s season-opening volleyball match between North Kitsap and South Kitsap was a decidedly one-sided affair.
North pounced on the Wolves early and never let up, winning in three straight sets with scores of 25-13, 25-14 and 25-9.
“It feels great (to beat South), because they’re a 4A school and we’re kind of the underdog,” North Kitsap’s Sarah Baugh said.
Baugh, a 5-foot-9 sophomore, led the Vikings on offense with seven kills and one ace on the night. Teammate Taylor Ottomano, a 5-foot-10 senior, followed closely with five kills of her own. Senior Katie Smeland’s eight digs topped the Viking defense.
North Kitsap Head Coach Tim French said he was surprised at how well his team handled themselves in the season’s first match.
“We were happy to open with a win,” French said. “I thought we might struggle a little more on serve/receive, but we did a good job.”
South Kitsap began Wednesday’s match with numerous mental mistakes, often losing control of the ball on their own side of the net, or struggling with placement on spike opportunities. After the Vikings jumped out to a 22-5 lead in the first set, South regrouped and narrowed the gap to a score of 23-13 behind strong serving by Ashley King. But the rally was short-lived, as the Vikings soon scored twice to take the set.
“After the first game of the season, it always gives the coach a pretty good idea of where we sit,” South Kitsap Head Coach Jessica Anderson said. “We need to tweak serve/receive, and we need to get the jitters out of the way.”
South began to correct their mistakes and kept things closer for the first half of set No. 2. After being down by 10, the Wolves came within six points before the Vikings managed to adjust and pull ahead once again and win the set.
“They give us a game every time we play them,” Baugh said. “They never let up, which keeps us on our game.”
South Kitsap’s only lead came early in the third set, when the Wolves took a 2-1 advantage on a couple sloppy Viking serves. But that lead quickly evaporated, as North proceeded to score eight unanswered points en route to a 16-point win.
Despite the loss, Anderson feels good about her young team’s chances in upcoming games, she said.
French believes North, which tied North Mason for the Olympic League championship last season and boasts seven seniors this year, has a strong chance of continuing its success.
“Our goal is to win the league championship,” French said. “I know we’re hungry for it. And if we continue to compete, we’ll have a good shot.”