Viking spikers go the distance in loss

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — After producing a textbook-crisp first game against Bainbridge Island Tuesday night, the North Kitsap volleyball team may have wanted to erase the fifth.

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — After producing a textbook-crisp first game against Bainbridge Island Tuesday night, the North Kitsap volleyball team may have wanted to erase the fifth.

The Vikings battled the Spartans to a fifth and deciding game in the sweltering Bainbridge Island gym, then dropped it 15-2 to lose their second non-league game in as many evenings.

While they were pinned with the loss, the Vikings were pleased with the defensive, hard-fought match, which they forced to five games when it could have ended earlier.

“That’s a sign we have the desire to battle back,” said head coach Clay Blackwood. “I was really happy we went five. At least that gave us a chance.”

Blackwood was also happy with the first game, where the Vikings dropped two points on aces by Bainbridge Island’s Michelle Miller, then rattled off 11 unanswered points — eight of them while Katie Cortner was serving — and won the game 15-8.

While North Kitsap played well in the first game, they were dominated by Bainbridge Island in the second, when the Spartans zoomed out to an 11-0 lead, then quickly finished off the Vikings for a 15-3 win.

“We didn’t have the fire we had in the first game,” said Blackwood, who said that North got in trouble when they didn’t talk to one another on the court, allowing the Spartans’ strong hitters to take advantage.

Bainbridge Island kept the momentum in the third game, where they surged ahead at the end after the two teams battled to an 8-8 tie.

A tip by Spartan Valerie Veatch, a strong hit by Kristina Purdom, and back-to-back points by Laura Bartunek and Miller gave the Spartans four straight points and the third-game win.

In the fourth game, the two teams again seesawed, tying five times before North leapt ahead with the final few points.

A Liz Tomsyck tip found a soft spot in the Bainbridge defense and won the fourth game for North Kitsap.

But it was all Bainbridge in the fifth, as the Spartans built an 11-1 lead and finished off the game in only a few minutes.

Spartans coach Julie Miller, whose team earned their first win of the season with the victory over North, remarked,“I thought they did very well, considering they’re young.”

Miller said the Spartans, who are playing four sophomores, let the Vikings creep into a few games when they shouldn’t have.

“They definitely have the potential to put it away,” Miller said. “They just need to realize it and do it.”

The Vikings (0-2) next host Capitol at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 17.

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