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September 5, 2013
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Spikers strike silver in Vegas

The Douglas High School volleyball team won six of eight matches this past weekend to return home with the Silver Division championship of the 23rd annual Las Vegas Invitational.

Douglas rebounded from a loss against Foothill (Henderson) the day before and won a closely contested rematch on Saturday 25-11, 26-27, 20-18 in the Silver Division bracket finals.

The performance was noteworthy since the 40-team Las Vegas field featured teams from California, Utah and Nevada. Douglas faced five opponents that had at least 19 victories and qualified for the postseason in their respective states in 2012. The Tigers won three of those matches.

Foothill ranked among Southern Nevada’s better teams last year, as the Falcons compiled a 21-15 record and advanced to the Sunrise Regional Tournament semifinals. Douglas’ only other loss came Saturday morning at the hands of Gregori (Modesto, Calif.), a program that was 33-4 and the CIF Sac-joaquin Section Division II runner-up in 2012.

On Saturday, the Tigers pulled out a narrow three-set victory against Skyline (Salt Lake City), 19-15 last year and a Utah 4A state tournament qualifier. The Tigers posted wins over two other 2012 playoff qualifiers in Friday’s pool play — 25-23, 25-23 against the Francis Polytechnic (Sun Valley, Calif.), 23-13 to reach Los Angeles City Section playoffs, and 25-12, 25-15 against Boulder City, 28-8 and semifinalists in Southern Nevada’s I-A regional tournament.

Douglas reached the Silver Division finals by defeating Skyline and Las Vegas (25-16, 25-21). In other pool play matches on Friday, the Tigers defeated Boulder City, Poly and Las Vegas Western (25-20, 25-21), in addition to losing against Foothill (25-23, 25-23).

Palo Verde defeated Green Valley 26-24, 25-19 in the tournament’s championship match.

Ariah Barth earned all-tournament recognition for Douglas. The junior had a team-high 45 kills (.579 hitting percentage) to go with 14 aces and 20 digs in what coach Suzi Townsell called an “overall outstanding tournament.”

Kristina Barum contributed 38 kills (.520) while Katie McCullough had 29 kills (.395) and 13 blocks. Shelby Van Winkle turned in an all-around performance that included 95 assists, 17 kills, 10 aces and six digs. Maddy Strauss contributed a team-high 36 digs and Nikki Hamada 40 assists.

This was just the start of a busy stretch on the schedule for the Tigers, who hosted Yerington on Tuesday and visit South Tahoe today. The Tigers also play Friday and Saturday at the Yerington Tournament and then return home next Tuesday to face defending state Division I champion Spanish Springs.

Spanish Springs is coming off a successful weekend, as the Cougars went 6-2 to finish fifth in the Las Vegas tourney.

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The Record Courier Updated Oct 8, 2013 11:37AM Published Sep 5, 2013 12:52PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.