Even though the story on the scoreboard wasn’t what she had hoped for, Douglas High volleyball coach Suzi Townsell easily flashed a wide smile on Thursday night.
“At least they went out playing as one,” Townsell said after the Tigers ended their season with a 3-1 Senior Night loss against rival Carson. “It was a great team effort, which was great to see. They should be proud of themselves.”
Douglas ends its season with an 18-17 overall record, 2-14 league in league, and out of the playoff picture.
Carson (7-9 league) took advantage of its quick-hitting offense and key plays at opportune moments to take the final two sets of the closely contested Sierra League match, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23.
“We’re a quick team and we’ve had to use that athleticism throughout the year,” Carson coach Robert Maw said. “With our quickness, it’s hard for opposing blockers to match up with us.”
Savannah Smith and Juliana Anderson delivered 11 kills each to lead the Senators at the net. Five of Smith’s kills came in the fourth set and four of those came from the middle — the last two accounting for leads of 18-16, 20-19.
Douglas rallied after trailing by 6 points three different times in that fourth set. Kristina Barnum put back-to-back shots down the line and added another kill to bring the Tigers back to within 12-10. The Tigers went up 21-20 on another Barnum shot from the left side, however, they were unable to sustain their momentum down the stretch.
Douglas evened the score at 1-1 after winning a back-and-forth second set that saw the score tied 10 times with six lead changes.
A dig by Shelby Van Winkle set up Barnum for a kill as the Tigers extended their lead to 23-21. Katie McCullough put down a shot off Van Winkle’s quick set, then McCullough closed it out by directing a block to open space.
“We knew coming in No. 15 (McCullough) was someone we had to deal with,” Maw said. “We wanted to make sure we could find her out there.”
Van Winkle had a double-double with 12 assists and 12 digs. Barnum had 11 kills and Nikki Hamada 12 assists. McCullough had 6 kills, 3 blocks and 9 service points. Libero Maddy Strauss added 6 service points and 9 digs.
Carson, the Sierra League’s No. 4 seed, opens in the playoffs on Tuesday at Spanish Springs. Maw likes his team’s chances going into the postseason.
“We’re excited to be there and excited about the position we’re in,” Maw said. “There’s no dominant team on either side (Sierra or High Desert), so it’s whoever brings their game this week will go South.”
The regional champion will be the North’s lone representative the following week at the Division I state tournament in Las Vegas.
“This season was a hard working group of young ladies,” Townsell said of her team. “From beginning to end, they kept their heads high and faced the challenge. It was a challenging season for us all, and we appreciate the time, work and dedication the girls put into the sport.
Douglas put the finishing touches on its 26-2 season with a straight set victory against Carson. The Tigers won 25-15, 25-15.
Seven different players contributed kills, led by Aubrey Caires with 5 and Isabelle Peterson with 4. Peterson also had 4 blocks. Raychel Allen and Emma Sperry contributed 9 and 7 digs respectively. Sperry had 17 assists.
“It was truly inspiring coaching these girls this season,” coach Marshall Hamada noted. “Their dynamics and the structure they carried was so much fun to be a part of.”
Douglas ended its season with a three-set victory, 25-16, 14-25, 15-13.
Hanna Grisell rang up 10 service points for the Tigers, including 4 aces, and also had 9 assists. Kaitlyn Palaroan had 14 digs. Nine players had kills, led by Natasha Culpepper with 3.
Douglas wound up with a 19-10 season record.