Offense might get a lot of attention in volleyball, but without good defense and passing, it’s hard for the big hitters to shine.
Bainbridge’s attention to detail on serve-receive and digging made life tough for Kingston in a Tuesday night Olympic League battle, and the Spartans improved to 10-0 on the season with a three-set victory.
And while Bainbridge provided plenty of fireworks up front, the defense, led by libero Florencia Olivera, frustrated Bucs hitters by continually digging out good spikes.
“I think we’re doing really well getting to our spots,” Olivera said. “I think we’re getting some really tough balls up.”
The Spartans dominated set one from start to finish, racing to a 6-0 lead on two kills from Allie Wildsmith and two aces from Rebecca Roman, and never really allowed Kingston to get any momentum going. Isabelle Prentice also had two kills and an ace in set one, and Olivera had four aces down the stretch as they closed the set on a 9-0 run.
Kingston shook off the first game, though, as a few mini-runs helped keep them in sets two and three. Marion Stejer had a block and a kill that erased an early 3-1 deficit, and an ace pulled the Bucs within 8-6. But an 8-0 mid-set run that featured three kills from Wildsmith and another from Mallory Nelson gave the Spartans a 20-8 lead. Holly McFadden’s big spike clinched the win in set two for Bainbridge.
Time and time again, those great offensive runs were supported by tough defense as Bainbridge seemed to come out on the right side of just about every long rally. And the Spartans got plenty of contributions from role players such as Nelson, Katherine Bouma, Cara Reinke and Mazzy Thornton, who were also able to make an impact on the game.
“They’re doing great,” Olivera said. “Everyone, when they get on the court, they have a job, they know their job, and they execute it, and we’re always there to support each other.”
Set three was tight early as Kingston’s Awasis Williams opened with an ace, and the two teams ended up tied early at 4-4. Two kills and an ace from Wildsmith helped Bainbridge take a 10-4 lead, but the Bucs continued to fight. Stejer racked up two more kills, Williams added one and Kylie Sandstrom tallied an ace has Kingston cut the lead to 12-10. Stejer scored two more kills to once again bring down Bainbridge’s lead to three before the Spartans conjured up one final run.
Bainbridge outscored Kingston 9-2 down the stretch as Roman, Wildsmith and Prentice all picked up kills for their team, and Wildsmith added another ace.
The Spartans will turn their attention to a tough final stretch before the playoffs as they take on Sequim, Port Angeles, Olympic and then finish up on Senior Night with second-place North Kitsap. Kingston closes its schedule with North Mason, Sequim and Port Angeles.