If the Douglas High School volleyball team needs any reassurance heading into the state tournament following Saturday's loss to Fallon in the zone final, the Tigers can take solace in the fact that they were in the exact same position last season.
And, playing as the No. 2 seed from the North, Douglas stormed through the 1998 state tournament to win the championship. The Tigers even got the chance to avenge their loss to zone champ South Tahoe on the way to the title.
"That was definitely discussed in our team meeting following the Fallon game," Douglas coach Dave Myers said. "It was obvious that we were outplayed by Fallon, but their heads were still up. We can accept that for one match. We have a tough task ahead of us, but we're in good shape to do well at state."
Douglas hammered McQueen in three games in the first round of the zone tournament. The Tigers followed that win with a four-game victory over Reno in the semifinals as they advanced to the championship round for the ninth straight year.
Douglas won zone championships in 1991, 1995 and 1997.
The Tigers had to settle for the runner-up finish last Saturday after losing to Fallon in the zone finals on Saturday 15-7, 15-6, 15-4 victory.
"They kind of overpowered us," Myers said. "It was definitely different (than the first meeting between the two teams, which Douglas won at home). We did a lot better job of defending them (in September) than we did Saturday.
"But we achieved our goal of being well-seeded for state. And now we look to step it up in Las Vegas."
The Tigers will play Durango, the No. 2 seed from the Sunset Division, on Thursday at 3 p.m. in the first round of the 1999 NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State championship at Chaparral High in Las Vegas. If they win, the Tigers will meet the winner of the match between Green Valley (No. 1, Sunrise) and Reno (No. 4, North) on Friday at 4:30 p.m. The championship match is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at Chaparral High.
Myers said the Tigers will be looking for a quick start against Durango, a team Douglas split two matches with in a tournament in Las Vegas in early September.
"It all depends on how we respond to the loss," he said. "We've been knocked down once or twice before and we've dusted ourselves off and responded well. And that's what we have to do this time.
"We need to focus on a good Durango team first and then take it as it comes. I think we're really focused on just taking care of business one game at a time. We know eight good teams will be at state. The team that plays the best is going to take it."