Riley Rabedeaux led North Kitsap to a season-opening win with 15 kills and 16 digs
KINGSTON — North Kitsap volleyball opened its defense of its sixth Olympic League 2A volleyball title with a 3-0 win over rival Kingston Thursday night.
And as much as the lightning, thunder and rain played havoc with Kingston’s football game against Port Townsend eventually forcing a first-half cancellation, the atmosphere in the Buccaneers gym was just as electric.
A crowded gymnasium, many coming in rain-soaked from the football game, did their best to energize the home team but the Vikings depth and experience won out in set scores of 25-17, 25-23, 25-15.
NK coach Tim French noted he was pleased with how his team didn’t allow Kingston to get on any “big runs.”
“There was times we’d go up one, tie it, go up one, tie it, but they didn’t go on big runs of four or five points so I guess I’m really proud of the way we were pretty steady,” he said.
The first set saw the Vikings take leads of 9-2 and 11-6 before Kingston went on a small run but it was stopped when Autumn Carver finished the set with an ace.
Kingston seemed to shake off the first-set loss and came out hard to tie the score at 7-7. North went on to small leads of 12-10 and 16-14 but the Bucs stayed with NK and took its first lead of the match, 18-17, on a hit by Marina Sallis. The Vikings scored the next two points on hits by Riley Rabedeaux and went up 24-21. The Bucs staved off set point twice before NK finished it for a 2-0 lead. Rabedeaux led NK with 15 kills and 16 digs while Noey Barreith had 28 digs and six kills. Carver had 13 digs and two aces while Joslyn Leage had 17 assists.
North controlled the pace in the third set, leading 5-1, 11-4 and eventually won by 10 points.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at North Kitsap, but it’s gymnasium floor wasn’t ready after maintenance issues. The two teams will swap their meeting later this season.
Kingston coach Ed Call said unforced errors were momentum killers for the Bucs.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t see anything that approached what our capability is, what I’ve seen us do in practice when we’re really grinding and working hard,” he said. “I didn’t see any of that. We were flying around and picking up a lot of balls. And, our defense was an improved brand of volleyball.”
But, Call said, the Bucs had so many service errors, so many hitting errors, so many errors it showed how unpolished they are.
“We’ve only had 11 practices and one game. It’s early. We have a ton of talent but our talent is young,” Call continued. “The void is being filled by young kids who haven’t had that amount of pressure on them and they need to step up to that.”
Junior middle Morgan Halady was a difference maker whenever she was on the court and the Bucs struggled during the rotations she was on the bench. Halady sparked many rallies and garnered some big points for Kingston as she finished with a kill percentage of 35 percent, with six for the night. Fellow junior Olivia Call finished with seven kills.
French said while the win was a good way to start the season, the Vikings still have a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to unforced errors. French did start three freshmen — middles Emma Gaines and Maddie Pryde, and setter Sophia Baugh, the youngest of the Baugh sisters, Sarah, Leah and Rebekah. Pryde finished with four kills and Baugh had two assists in their debuts.
“She’s got all the tools,” French said of the youngest Baugh.
French said he’s lucky to have a lot of girls in the program that love volleyball and play year round.
“Because of that, they come in ready to go,” he said. “We’re pretty deep as far as talent goes.”