SILVERDALE — When North Kitsap and Central Kitsap played each other in volleyball for the first time this season Thursday night, both were fine tuning for the upcoming league season.
The Vikings probably have more fine-tuning to do than the Cougars.
North Kitsap, which was without head coach Clay Blackwood for a week of practices and two games because of the birth of his son, lost 25-15, 25-17, 25-17 to the Cougars.
The game was Blackwood’s first with the Vikings this season.
“We played hard. We have some work ahead of us,” Blackwood said.
The Cougars reeled off streaks of six and seven points against North Kitsap. Their biggest hitter, Lindsey Fryer, sat the entire third game as most of the second team played.
Gordy Bushaw, whose CK team already has eight games under its belt thanks to an early-season tournament at Mariner High School, said the Cougars played defense and passed well. Like Blackwood, he said he feels his team needs to improve.
“We weren’t as crisp as we’ve been, and give some credit to North for that,” Bushaw said. “North played good defense. They scrapped.”
Central Kitsap (7-1 overall) was aided by the effort of its best hitters, including Fryer, whose play drew oohs and aahs from the Cougar Krazies and of whom Blackwood said: “She’s their best weapon.”
While the Vikings appeared overpowered by the Cougars’ big hitters at times, they also remained competitive; in the first game, they hovered within four points before a seven-point streak by Central Kitsap, and in the second game, they battled back from a six-point deficit to take a 13-12 lead, then stayed close until late in the game. Blackwood was especially encouraged by the play of Sarah Mostofi, who was making her debut at setter for North Kitsap (1-2). Mostofi has started before, but not at setter.
The game did not count toward the league standings, but it will when Central Kitsap visits North at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 14
“They’ll play much better when we play them up there,” Bushaw said.