The Vikings celebrate their district volleyball tournament win, their first since 2014 (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

North Kitsap defeats Fife to win district tournament | Volleyball

Vikings win 2A District 3 tournament for the first time since 2014

TACOMA — It was a sequence that had played out so many times over the course of the district tournament for North Kitsap.

With its ferocious blocking causing opponents to look for another way to score points, the ball was tipped lightly over the net, in hopes of catching the Vikings defense off balance.

But they were ready. Riley Rabedeaux passed the ball over to setter Rae Rosenquist, who set up Olivia Selembo for the final kill. The moment the ball landed on the court, the players erupted. They were district champions for the first time in three years, defeating Fife 25-22, 25-22, 25-21.

“This is amazing,” said sophomore Noelani Barreith, who plays just about every role for North Kitsap. “We have worked so hard for this, and to see how far we’ve come has just been amazing.”

The Vikings did not drop a single set over the course of the two-day tournament, which took place from Nov. 3-4 at Franklin Pierce High School. North Kitsap defeated the hosts and then inter-district rival Kingston and Fife to claim the district title, with its blocking and serving leading the way.

“If you get a good block up, it helps our back row and that pretty much sets up the whole entire thing,” junior middle Juliana Benson said. “So we’re always communicating with our back row, they tell us to close the block, or to move it to the left and right, and that’s a huge factor sometimes because it’s better than getting the ball up and getting a kill. That is a kill. It’s such a big factor and it shuts down the other side.”

It was not always easy for the Vikings — they found themselves trailing 16-11 in set one before they stormed back with two kills by Benson and an ace by Tori Carver.

“They’re a great team and they have such positive energy,” head coach Tim French said. “That’s huge, too.”

Fife had just won an emotional five-set thriller over White River in the semifinals, and had carried some of that momentum into the finals. But after tying the first set at 16, the Vikings battled the Trojans all the way to a 21-21 tie before Barreith broke the deadlock with another kill. North Kitsap led throughout set two and kept Fife at bay during set three to bring home the championship.

North Kitsap also committed just one service error in the finals, which made a big difference in a match in which all three sets were decided by just three or four points.

The offense was led by Selembo, who had 13 kills in all; Benson added eight and Barreith had seven. Rosenquist finished with 26 assists.

Barreith was also the team leader in digs against Fife, with 11, as she and libero Eunice Moran, who had 10 digs, were able to get to any balls that slipped through the North Kitsap blocking. Rabedeaux tallied seven digs and Selembo racked up six.

The state tournament begins at 9 a.m. on Nov. 10 at St. Martins University in Lacey. North Kitsap will take on Lynden High School in the first round. The road to a state title likely goes through teams such as Sehome, Pullman, defending 2A champion Tumwater and 2015 2A winner Burlington-Edison. The experience at the district tournament should give the Vikings an idea of what to expect at state.

“This is not a team you want to doubt,” French said of his players. “Fife is a really good team, and it’s only going to get better at state. Fife and White River are both going to be strong at state, so we’re right in there. I’ve been around long enough to know whoever is playing well at the time has a really good shot. Volleyball is about momentum. If you can gain it and keep it, you’ve got a shot.”

— Mark Krulish is a reporter Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@soundpublishing.com.

Noelani Barreith (15) had seven kills and 11 digs for North Kitsap in the district finals against Fife. The Vikings won the tournament for the first time since 2014. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

More in Sports

Courtesy photo
Megan Hyte, a former Poulsbo resident and North Kitsap soccer star, is giving back to her old club, Kitsap Alliance, through her 110 brand and fundraising platform.
Former NK soccer star gives back to her old club team

In order to find the right path in life, Megan Hyte first… Continue reading

.
WIAA has new return-to-play guidelines based on county benchmarks

New return-to-play guidelines tied to Kitsap County benchmarks rather than the governor’s… Continue reading

No asterisks needed as championships still deserved

COVID-19 has changed many things in the sports world. Major League Baseball… Continue reading

Extracurricular activities will likely be on hold as long as most school districts remain in remote learning. Review file photo
WIAA releases next steps for return to play

There has been a groundswell of support for fall athletes returning to… Continue reading

Virgil Taylor celebrates with his son, David, who served as the bat boy for North Kitsap’s 1988 state championship team. (Contributed photo by the Taylor Family)
N. Kitsap coaching legend dies at age 80

He’s been a fixture at prep baseball, football games

Contributed photo
                                Virgil and his wife, DiAnn, who were together for 63 years and married for nearly 58.
N. Kitsap coaching legend dies at age 80

He was a longtime fixture at high school baseball, football games

Bainbridge running back Alex Ledbetter tries to break away from the pile during the Spartans’ 2018 opener against North Kitsap. (File photo)
A look back at some great Week 1 local prep gridiron games

Under normal circumstances, tonight fans would have gathered at high school stadiums… Continue reading

“Strong Like Her” features American powerlifter Megan Gallagher on the cover.
Kitsap native Haley Shapley features strong women in “Strong Like Her”

Says it’s OK to have muscles if you’re female

Cross country was one of the few remaining sports that had a chance to compete this fall until the decision was made to move all fall sports to spring. (Review File Photo)
PREPS: Fall seasons officially pushed to spring 2021

Cross country, boys tennis join girls swim and dive in season 3

Island resident Greg Nance pulls up to the end of Point Monroe Drive near Fay Bainbridge Park during his endurance run around Bainbridge. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
With community encouragement, Greg Nance completes his run around Bainbridge Island

For the rare few among us who enjoy putting ourselves through the… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Pete Saloutos
                                Greg Nance, a 2007 Bainbridge High School graduate, will run the island’s entire shoreline on Aug. 18 to raise awareness for mental health issues.
BHS grad Greg Nance to run island shoreline for mental health and addiction support

On the surface, just about anyone would be envious of Greg Nance.… Continue reading

Krulish: Release the Kraken

What’s in a name? When it comes to professional sports teams, not… Continue reading