North Kitsap volleyball is rolling along in 2021 and was a perfect 10-0 heading into a Tuesday night match against Bainbridge.
The Spartans gave them a good fight, but the Vikings prevailed in straight sets, 25-12, 25-17, 25-13, thanks to its consistent, versatile offensive attack and reliable defense.
The win gives the Vikings a chance to head into this Tuesday’s rematch with Central Kitsap to clinch the top spot in the Olympic League South Division. North Kitsap also has a Thursday match against North Mason.
“It’s the big one left on the schedule, but our next opponent is North Mason,” North Kitsap coach Kaelea Makaiwi said. “One game at a time.”
Bainbridge hung tough all night, but each set featured one long run that allowed the Vikings to pull away; Makaiwi moved her multi-talented players around the court as needed to neutralize the Bainbridge offense.
“It’s nice to have that versatility on my team this year where players can play multiple positions,” Makaiwi said. “I can switch it up after watching what [Bainbridge] is killing us on.”
Set one was tight early. Riley Rabedeaux smashed the first of her 21 kills to give North Kitsap a 4-2 lead, but Allie Wildsmith answered with a kill of her own to tie the set at 5. After Wildsmith scored another point to pull the Spartans to within 8-7, the Vikings went on a 7-0 run thanks in part to two more kills from Rabedeaux.
Bainbridge was able to stem the tide from there and play North Kitsap more evenly, but couldn’t cut into the lead. Wildsmith racked up yet another kill to cut the Spartans’ deficit to 20-12, but NK closed it out from there.
The Vikings roared out to a big early lead in set two thanks to an 8-1 run. Carver had two more aces as her service gave the Spartans plenty of trouble in this match; Rabedeaux also scored three more kills, and NK got another kill from Lillian Pruden.
But Bainbridge put up its best rally of the match thereafter, getting all the way back to 19-14 thanks to some defensive resilience led by libero Florencia Olivera, who was all over the court for the Spartans. Wildsmith also recorded four more kills and finished the match with nine overall.
“I think that overall we’ve improved, and we had longer rallies; we just weren’t on the winning side of a lot of those rallies,” Bainbridge coach Jen Roman said. “And I think we adapted to some of what their strengths were.”
A few tactical changes in set three helped give the Vikings another early lead. Sophomore Mary Allen moved up to the right side and made a huge impact with five kills and one block, and Maddie Pryde moved to the back row to line up with Bainbridge’s Wildsmith.
North Kitsap went ahead 18-5, but the Spartan defense didn’t allow the Vikings to score consecutive points the rest of the way until the very last one.
“They didn’t give up, and they had that positive attitude the whole time,” Roman said. “I think they were fighting together as a team.”
Rabedeaux continued to put on a show down the stretch as she scored her team’s final three points. Her seamless connection with setter Sophia Baugh, who finished the match with 32 assists, has been a big reason why the Vikings are among the toughest teams to defend night in and night out.
The victory puts them in good position to capture yet another in a long line of league titles; though there are still two matches remaining and this one will come under different circumstances than in years past, the emphasis on competing, working hard and living up to the program’s legacy remains firmly intact.