BREMERTON — North Kitsap was in trouble early in their second set against North Mason in the Olympic League Championship final. The Vikings had pulled away late to win the first set, but found themselves down 7-0 to the Bulldogs in set two.
A superhuman performance from junior outside hitter Riley Rabedeaux propelled North Kitsap (15-1) to a huge comeback as the team rallied to take set two, 29-27, and then dominated set three to win the tournament and pick up the No. 1 seed at the district tournament.
They will play a winner-to-state match 7 p.m. on Thursday at North Mason High School against either White River or River Ridge.
Rabedeaux finished the match against North Mason with 23 kills and a .364 hitting percentage while adding a team-leading 31 digs.
“She’s so good,” said North Kitsap head coach Tim French. “And she’s improved her defense so much this season. She’s smarter; she doesn’t always bang it, she takes something off or tip it when she needs to. And she’s focused, she gets her teammates to follow her as far as being focused all the time. I’m glad she’s on our team.”
The Vikings were able to cut the lead in set two to 10-7 thanks to three kills from Rabedeaux and aces from Sophia Baugh and Noelani Barreith. But the Bulldogs went on another run, increasing their lead to 16-9. North Kitsap could have easily folded up and played for set three and four, but they were determined to, at the very least, go down swinging.
“We reminded ourselves of how important this game is,” Rabedeaux said. “Because winning it means a better seed for districts, which is one step closer to getting to state. We had to remind ourselves ‘let’s go, we’re still in this game. This isn’t over until it’s over.’”
They chipped away little by little, finally tying the set at 22. After a hitting error, Baugh scored a kill to tie it at 23 and then after another North Mason point, Emma Gaines scored one more kill to tie it at 24. Rabedeaux picked up three more kills after that, including the final blow that gave her team the set.
“That was really impressive,” French said. “North Mason is so good on defense, the ball keeps coming back. It makes it tough.”
The Vikings took on Port Angeles in their first match of the day, winning in straight sets, 25-11, 25-6, 25-13. Rabedeaux led North Kitsap with 11 kills and chipped in 15 digs. Barreith added nine kills and a team-high 19 digs.
“I’m so proud of them,” French said.
Kingston lost its first match to North Mason in straight sets, but then beat Port Angeles to finish the tournament in third place. The Bucs will take on Foster on Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. at Franklin Pierce High School.
North Kitsap 3, Port Angeles 0
25-11, 25-6, 25-13
Kills — Rabedeaux 11, Barreith 9, Mahitka 7.
Assists — Baugh 20, Leage 16, Barreith 1.
Digs — Barreith 19, Rabedeaux 15, Carver 14.
North Kitsap 3, North Mason 0
25-18, 29-27, 25-11
Kills — Rabedeaux 23, Mahitka 6, Baugh 3, Gaines 3.
Assists — Baugh 26, Leage 10, Carver 1.
Digs — Rabedeaux 31, Carver 19, Barreith 18.