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

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)

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

The North Kitsap passing game struggled Thursday, but quarterback Colton Bower rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns in his team’s 32-0 win over Bainbridge. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Weather forces NK to use ground game in 32-0 win over BI

If North Kitsap hopes to go far in the state high school… Continue reading

Bainbridge quarterback Jack Grant, left, hands off to Garrett Goade as Port Angeles defender Jeremiah Hall closes in on Friday night in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Football Roundup: Week 7

Port Angeles 27, Bainbridge 7 The Spartans had their opportunities, but the… Continue reading

Colton Bower passed for 363 yards and six touchdowns in North Kitsap’s 56-21 win over Bremerton. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Bower throws 6 TD passes, runs for 100 yards in romp

Friday night brought together a North Kitsap team that loves to air… Continue reading

Bainbridge senior Eden Michael took home a second-place finish in the final regular season cross country league meet at Battle Point Park. Michael’s performance helped lead Bainbridge to a team victory. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group photos)
Bainbridge girls win final league meet

NK girls, Kingston boys each run to 2nd place

Bainbridge senior Maddy Brown looks to pry the ball loose from a Sequim player during her team’s 1-0 win Thursday night. Mark Krulish/Bainbridge Island Review photos
Bainbridge maintains top spot with 1-0 win over Sequim

Keeping the positive momentum going was the order of the day for… Continue reading

Bainbridge sophomore Kathryn Houseman swims to victory in the 500-yard freestyle in Tuesday’s tri-meet against North Kitsap and Kingston. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
BHS swimmers dominating on road to state

With a reloaded roster full of experienced underclassmen, the Bainbridge girls swim… Continue reading

Finn Miller plays defense against his Mercer Island counterpart, Finn Friedland (7), in Monday night’s water polo match agains the Islanders. Bainbridge won 17-8. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
BHS water polo beats Mercer Island to remain undefeated

In the 50-year history of boys high school water polo in Washington… Continue reading

North Kitsap improved to 4-0 on the season with a 42-7 win over Olympic on Friday. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Football roundup: Week 5

North Kitsap 42, Olympic 7 The Trojans hung tough for a while,… Continue reading

Colton Bower
Big passing plays spark N. Kitsap over Olympic

The Vikings didn’t get off to their fastest start on Homecoming night,… Continue reading

Allie Wildsmith of Bainbridge blasts a shot through the North Kitsap defense during her team’s five-set win on Thursday night. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Wildsmith leads Bainbridge to wild finish in win over N. Kitsap

Every time Bainbridge needed to help turn the momentum of the match,… Continue reading

Mark Krulish
Community comes together over COVID cancellations

We’re a few weeks into the Fall 2021 prep season, and although… Continue reading