MINDEN - After closing out a 15-9 win in Game 3, the Galena High School volleyball team appeared to be right where it wanted to be against Northern 4A rival on Thursday night.
In realty, the Douglas Tigers had just turned the momentum and were on their way to beating Galena in a five-game match that took two hours, 45 minutes to play. The Tigers won 14-16, 19-17, 9-15, 15-11, 15-11 to present Scott Akimoto with a victory in his debut as their
"When we were down 10-1 in that third game and then came back on them, I think that broke them a little," Akimoto said. "Having the stamina and being able to focus like we did ... I think we may have wore them down at the end."
The scores were reflective of a showdown between teams that should rank among the best in the Northern 4A this season. Douglas won three championships in the 1990s and a state title in 1998 and Galena reigned as a division champion last year.
"For early in the season, this was a great match," Galena coach Teresa Burrows said. "Douglas is very athletic and they've had a solid program for a long time. We knew this would be a tough match coming in.
"We made some mistakes we shouldn't have. We had a 10-1 lead and it took us too long to close it out, but it's early. I think we have a really good team. I think we'll be up there at the end of the season."
The Grizzlies showed poise when they rallied from a 14-11 deficit to win the first game. And Douglas showed some of its inexperience at times.
"It was frustrating at times," said senior setter Jamie McCreary, the only full-time starter who returns from last year and a member of the Tigers' state championship squad. "All of us had jitters in the first game. We were nervous and we played with too much energy. We were just running around and not knowing what to do. But everybody pulled through it and worked like a Douglas team should."
In game 2, the Tigers rallied from deficits of 12-7,15-14 and 16-15 to finally win on Jencie Le Jeune's kill.
Douglas led most of the way in game 5, largely behind Nati Ordas, who had four kills and one block down the stretch. The senior put the ball down against Galena's double team block to give the Tigers a 5-3 lead.
"She some very crucial plays," Akimoto said of Ordas, who finished the night with six kills.
Douglas spread its offense around. Chelsea Myers had 18 kills, Emily Haas 14 kills and eight blocks, Le Jeune 11 kills and Andrea Honer 10 kills.
"Everybody on this team contributes," Akimoto said. "We do have a good bench. I can pretty much go with anybody and feel comfortable."
McCreary was an effective quarterback for the offense, as the setter handed out 46 assists to go with three aces from the service line.
"We're going to be counting on Jamie a lot this year," Akimoto said. "She's our only returning starter, our captain and our senior leader on the floor."
Trailing 10-5 in the final game, Galena staged a brief comeback. Tammie Nettleton put two balls down and setter Lauren Wallace, the team's senior captain, fed Kellie Burton for a kill that cut the deficit to 12-10. The Grizzlies never got any closer.
Conditioning from three-a-day practices during the preseason also appeared to pay off.
"We've been working real hard with double and triple workouts and I think it paid off," McCreary said.
CARSON 3, ELKO 2
Kaitlin Leck and Megan Anderson led a balanced attack that led Carson to a five-set victory in its season-opener at Elko on Thursday.
Carson started fast and went on to win the match 16-14, 15-9, 7-15, 13-15, 15-5.
Leck hammered down 14 kills and five blocks while Anderson had 14 kills and four blocks to help the Senators collect what coach Daryl James described as a big win.
"I think we need to pick up the intensity, and we will," James said. "I was just glad to go all the way out there and get a win. Everything counts in this league and every W is important."
Senior setter Ryanne Amodei handed out 49 assists and also had eight aces. Jennifer Saunders contributed seven kills and eight blocks, Katie Dill six kills while sophomore Rachel DeReimer had five kills and five blocks.