MINDEN - It took a little while to fall back into rhythm, but the Douglas High volleyball team recovered just fine on its way to a 22-25, 25-23, 25-11, 25-22 win over Carson on Thursday night.
The match marked the first for the Tigers under new coach Kira Brown, who took over after the previous coaching staff resigned last week. Brown was out of town for the first part of the week and didn't even get to meet with the team until Wednesday.
"It's been a crazy week," Brown said, laughing. "I was a little nervous going into tonight because I didn't get to meet with the team until yesterday. But anytime you can beat Carson, it's a good night."
By winning, Douglas improved its Sierra League-leading record to 8-0.
For the Senators, who dropped to 4-4 and fourth-place in league, the performance was an improvement after losing in four games at Reno on Tuesday.
"I thought we played the best we could at this time," Carson coach Shana Wilkins said. "I thought they worked hard and played hard. For us to come back after Tuesday and take them (Douglas) to four games, and almost five, that was a complete turnaround."
Carson came out hot, building an early 8-4 lead capitalizing on some Douglas misplays and on a well-spread attack from Nicole Scott, Lindsay Ford, Nicole Carlevato, Morgan Nuckolls and Catherine Brekken.
The Senators extended the early lead to 12-8 before Douglas went on a four-point run to tie the score. Douglas briefly regained the lead several times before making five consecutive unforced errors to give Carson a 24-22 lead.
Scott hammered home a kill on the next point to close out the game.
"It was a little bit of a slow start," Brown said. "I'm asking them to do things differently and that took them out of their game. They also seemed a little distracted, which was weird for a Carson game.
"They started getting the hang of it as the match went on and the second, third and fourth games went really well. Our passing got much better. We'll figure things out.. It'll just take us a few days."
Douglas built a 10-3 lead in the second game, highlighted by some strong play from Whitney Estes, who had two kills, a block and an ace in that stretch.
The Tigers stretched the lead to 12-6 before Carson made a furious 14-7 run to take a 20-19 lead. Brekken had two blocks and a kill during the run and Alex McAlman had a block and two kills.
Carson extended the lead to 23-21 with a McAlman kill assisted by Ford and appeared ready to grab full control of the momentum, but Douglas rattled off four unanswered points to tie the match up.
After that, the Tigers got rolling. They built a 10-6 lead and then went on a 10-0 run that saw five Monica Knight kills and an ace. Douglas powered ahead to take the game and then fought off a late Carson rally in the final set to take the match.
Knight finished with 14 kills for the Tigers, Whitney Estes had 10 kills to go with eight blocks and four aces and Dawson Joyce-Mendive had seven kills and three blocks. Katy Marsh dished out 22 assists and Alex Risko had five kills, two assists and two blocks for the Tigers.
On Carson's side, Ford had 28 assists and three aces and Michelle Raponi was a defensive standout with 32 digs.
"She played great," Wilkins said of Raponi.
Nuckolls also contributed 18 digs to go with three kills. Brekken finished with eight kills, Scott had six, Carlevato and Keller each had three and McAlman had two to go with three blocks.
n Joey Crandall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 782-5121, ext. 212.