The emotional and physical output required by the Fife High School volleyball team to beat top-ranked White River in an exciting district semifinal match may have taken its toll in the championship game against North Kitsap.
In the end, it didn’t matter. The Trojans were all smiles Saturday after finishing second at the Class 2A West Central District tournament.
Fife wasn’t able to take the district championship, losing 25-22, 25-22, 25-21 to the Vikings at Franklin Pierce.
“I think we were tired,” Fife coach Katy Ferguson said as she watched her team accept the second-place plaque from tournament director Wendy Malich. “The fatigue was there, but I’m so proud of their performance, and I’m proud of them making it this far.”
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It’s never an easy road to win a district championship, and the Trojans ranked No. 9 in the latest coaches poll, were pushed to the brink against top-ranked White River — which had won each of the past two district titles. Fife won a very close 3-1 match and didn’t have much rest before taking on North Kitsap in the finale.
North Kitsap pulled ahead in the second game 13-4 and took advantage of Fife’s inability to get to the ball quickly. The Trojans didn’t quit, scoring effective hits from the frontcourt when they needed it and worked their way back trail 22-19 and force the Vikings to take a timeout.
“Volleyball is very emotional and so to give everything and then have to play 10 minutes later? I told them in the timeout if I had a magic pill or an answer for you I’d give it to you,” Ferguson said, “just play like you want to play.”
The Vikings led 24-21 at their third-match point before middle Olivia Selembo was able to put the point away on a kill to the back row.
North Kitsap, which finished seventh at state last season, won its semifinal match against its Olympic League rival Kingston, 3-0, and had a more extended rest to prepare for Fife.
North Kitsap coach Tim French said that likely worked in their favor.
“They’re really good, really strong and talented,” French said of Fife. “I think there was some fatigue there. Not that we weren’t tired. I think our energy level got us past that more so than Fife.”
The Trojans will have a day off to rest and then get back onto the court for practice as they try and bring home another state trophy.
Ferguson said she’s most looking forward to watching her team perform at the state tournament at Saint Martin’s University, where she played collegiate volleyball.
“I don’t know who we play, I haven’t looked at the bracket yet, but it’s just a fun atmosphere, and I’m so happy they get to experience that in high school,” she said.