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Vikes place fifth at 2A State Tournament | Volleyball
POULSBO — Knowing they would be up against tough competition, the North Kitsap Vikings weren’t surprised how many sets they had to play at the 2A State Volleyball Championships Nov. 15-16.
By the end of the first day of the tournament, the Vikings had played eight sets.
After a long day of competitive play, the Vikings were tired going into the second day of the tournament.
“We were all exhausted playing those competitive matches,” North Kitsap junior co-captain Sarah Holt said.
The varsity team played 18 sets in four matches over two days. Those four matches led the team to a fifth-place finish in the State Tournament, and the first State finish in program history.
“I’m so proud of the team,” Holt said. The team performed well when it was time to compete, and was dedicated at practice. “Couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls.”
The Vikes were 3-1 in the tournament. They defeated Tumwater 3-2 in the finals.
The Vikes and Tumwater Thunderbirds were evenly matched, Holt said. The Vikes won the first two sets 27-25 and 25-21. They ran into some trouble when Vikings’ libero Jennifer Gell was taken out before the third set.
In the third and fourth sets, the Thunderbirds won 25-15, 25-17 to tie the match.
Then Gell was back in, Holt said. The team’s defense improved.
In the fifth and last set of the team’s 2013 season, the Vikes won 15-12 over the Thunderbirds. They had placed at state.
“It was this year that was expected to be a peak year; and expected to do well,” Holt said. “We came out and proved it.”
The Vikes had an exceptional season. The team finished 21-2, and earned the Olympic League title.
The Vikes were the only team from the Olympic League to finish at state. The Port Angeles Roughriders also seeded to state, but were eliminated in two matches.
Burlington-Edison is the 2013 champion.
The one loss for the Vikes came from the West Valley Rams. The Rams defeated the Vikes 3-0; they would go on to place third at state.
“They were amazing; so many good hitters,” Holt said.
Holt described the Rams’ front line as “giants.” The Rams were one of few teams this season to not allow the Vikings to get point runs or a solid lead, she said.
For Holt and returning players from the 2011 team, the fifth-place finish may have meant even more. Holt, a freshman at the time, and the 2011 team earned the first trip to state in program history. However, the Vikes were eliminated after one win and two losses. This time around, the North Kitsap team had a good feeling about the tournament.
“We went in knowing we had a great chance,” Holt said.
What else should the community know about the first volleyball team from the North Kitsap School District to finish at state?
“I just want everyone to know what a great group of girls — and chemistry — we had,” Holt said.