There were few free points in Wednesday night’s nonleague volleyball match between South Tahoe and Douglas.
Every tick on the scoreboard was earned with punishing sprawls, intelligent tips and ridiculous saves, but in the end Douglas earned just a few more ticks. In a best-of-five match, Douglas edged South Tahoe 3-1. Defending I-A state champion South Tahoe took control of the court in the first game 25-6, but the Tigers roared back 25-15, 25-19 and finally 25-23 for the non-league win.
Douglas is loaded with club volleyball players who all looked sharp during warm-ups. But South Tahoe wasn’t intimidated.
“We matched them with intensity and the fundamentals that we have right now,” South Tahoe coach Dan McLaughlin said. “And we out-hustled them. Douglas has one of the toughest defenses, and defensively we matched them.”
South Tahoe took control of Game 1 early. Hannah Neiger fired five unanswered service points to give the Vikings a 6-1 lead. Kendhyl Delacour then started collecting kills from the outside, maintaining that five-point cushion. Kaila Griffis delivered the final kill to give the Vikings a 25-16 game. But the early win rattled the Tigers’ cage. Douglas came out with vengeance for Round 2.
The Tigers looked like a different team. They quickly built a commanding lead, and the Vikings never recovered after dropping behind by five points in the first six.
The Tigers lengthened their lead to 22-12 with strong defense and well-placed tips. Ariah Barth delivered the final blow for the 25-15 win to tie the match at 1-1.
Both teams were fired up for Game 3. Tying the game seven times as they both approached 25. But in the end, the Tigers’ Barth stepped up to collect three of the last four game points. South Tahoe trailed 2-1, but the match was far from over. The Vikings climbed to a seven-point lead in the first 15 points of Game 4 before the Tigers began to come back. With the Vikings up 17-13, the Tigers’ Nikki Hamada stepped up to the service line and delivered six unanswered points, capped by two aces. The score was now Douglas, 19-17.
Five plays later, Child came out with an injured hand, but the Vikings still had some fight left. Raquel Marchesseault slammed an ace over the net to set up a tie game. But 23-23 is where the Vikings stalled. Douglas collected the win with a tip and two-touch foul on the final point.