Carson High School hosted Fallon in a clash between young Northern 4A volleyball teams on Thursday afternoon.
You can make that tenacious teams, too, as two-time defending 4A state champion Fallon rallied to defeat Carson in a five-set marathon match that lasted nearly three hours at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
The scrappy Carson Senators jumped out a 2-1 lead, but it wasn't enough to hold on for the win at home because the Greenwave came back to win the final two sets and pull out the shoot-out between inter-league rivals. Fallon won 13-15, 15-6, 16-18, 15-6, 15-13.
"Fallon's got a good club. I was happy how we scrambled with them," Carson coach Daryl James said. "I thought we played OK. We need to learn a few things."
The match was every bit as close as the scores indicate, according to Fallon coach Gary Evett.
"It could have gone either way, we just lucked out," Evett said. "Carson's good. They're really scrappy. They kept the ball going."
The fifth set was an example. Fallon was up by scores of 13-9 and 14-10, but only managed to put it away after Evett called for two timeouts. After the second timeout, all-conference setter Tristan Adams fed Carly Sorensen for a blast through the middle of Carson's defense for the final point.
Before that point, however, the Senators had cut the deficit to two points thanks to a pair of service aces from Tabitha Adams and a kill from Rachael DeRiemer. DeRiemer finished the match with 20 kills while Adams handed out 47 assists.
Just like Carson, Fallon is in a reloading mode after losing its two big guns from last year - Jennifer Hucke, now playing at Stanford; and Monica Meihack, who is playing at Oregon State - plus Gary Evett is in his first season as head coach.
"We're a young team. We're not quite smooth yet, we're going through growing pains," said Evett, whose Greenwave opened the season with a four-set loss at home Tuesday against Douglas in a rematch of last year's regional and state tournament finals.
Statistically, DeRiemer had five aces to go with her 20 kills for Carson. Megan Anderson had 14 kills, while Terry Niederer and Kaitlin Brush had seven blocks each. Shannon Devereaux also contributed four aces and a number of kills in key spots.
Fallon was led by Carly Sorensen's 24 kills. Shayna Jensen, the team's only senior, also had 21 kills.
"We hope to keep improving," Evett said of the Greenwave. "By the end of the season, we think we'll be a lot more mature team. They're scrappy right now, but they're still making a few little mental errors. I think when we get a little more smooth and more mature, we'll be a little more solid."
The Senators had their moments, too. In game one, Anderson twice put the ball down over the middle for sideout - with the score tied 12-12 and with Carson holding a 13-12 lead. Finally, with the score 14-13, Brush had a kill for sideout to set up DeRiemer, who delivered an ace for Carson's final point.
Then, in game three, Carson rallied from a 15-14 deficit to win. DeRiemer came up with a diving dig that helped the Senators tie the score 15-15. Niederer had a kill to make it 16-15. And Devereaux hit a shot off the top of the net that fell to the floor to close out the game for Carson.
The Senators simply need to experience those moments more frequently down the road, according to James.
"We need to do some smarter things on the important points," he said. "On the crucial points, we need to do some things where we're trying for a point, not just the sideout. Especially when we're going for a point. Like when we dig a ball or we get a free ball, we need to put that away.
"You know, they'll be better at the end of the year, we'll be better at the end of the year. We'll see who improves more."