POULSBO — This past summer, North Kitsap volleyball coach Tim French knew he had a few holes in his lineup to fill after losing seven players to graduation.
And one of the questions marks was on the right side of the attack opposite hitter Riley Rabedeaux.
“We weren’t quite sure what we were going to do,” French said. “We were looking at different people and scenarios, and then along comes a gift from Utah.”
Maddie Pruden transferred in from Salem Hills High School in Utah, moving to the Pacific Northwest a year early before attending Seattle Pacific University. On Thursday, Nov. 15, with friends, family and teammates on hand, Pruden signed her official letter of intent.
“I’ve always wanted to live out here, so I was looking at schools out here,” Pruden said. “But my mom definitely had a big impact and helped me a lot through getting my scholarship. She helped me reach out to a lot of colleges and Seattle Pacific had the best offer.”
Pruden finished her first and only season at North Kitsap with 156 kills and 50 blocks, providing a solid left-handed hitting option for a Vikings team that won their sixth consecutive league championship, placed third in the district and went to state for the sixth season in a row.
“I wish it was longer, I’m going to really miss the team a lot,” Pruden said. “It was definitely one of the best teams I’ve ever played on.”
Pruden was an immediate fit on the team, both on the court and off.
“She wasn’t just a great athlete, she is a really good person and she fit right in with the chemistry of the team,” French said. “She’s really grounded and she’s got a no-nonsense approach to things.”
A multi-sport athlete, Pruden will also provide a boost to the basketball and track teams, but it is volleyball that has her heart.
In April, she took her official visit to the school, which is at the northern end of the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. The program has a bright, young coach in Abbie Wright and Pruden immediately felt at home. She gave a verbal commitment about two weeks later.
“I went to practice with them for the first time and I loved the team,” Pruden said. “So I knew that was it for me.”
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.