SOUTH LAKE TAHOE - This time, the Douglas High volleyball team left the South Shore in better spirits.
After being swept by 2A Whittell last Wednesday in Zephyr Cove, the Tigers dominated a South Tahoe team that looked out-of-sync in a 25-20, 25-15, 25-20 Sierra Division win on Tuesday inside the South Tahoe High School Gold Gym.
Douglas' Dawson Joyce-Mendive recorded a game-high 11 kills, while Whitney Estes contributed seven kills and five blocks and Monica Knight added seven kills and 12 digs for the Tigers, which swept their second consecutive match since losing to Whittell. With the win, Douglas stays undefeated in the division standings and is now two games ahead of second-place South Tahoe.
"I think that Whittell match was kind of an eye opener," said Douglas coach Kira Brown, who took over the program earlier this month after Velvet Steel resigned on Sept. 29. "I don't think they expected that to happen versus Whittell, and I don't think they expected to play like they did against Whittell."
Coaching in her fourth match for Douglas, Brown watched the Tigers take advantage of the Vikings' inconsistency. Playing in front of its most raucous home crowd of the year, South Tahoe was never able to get anything going.
"There was a lot of hype surrounding this game and I think the girls were just too excited," said STHS coach Gary Hankoff, whose team fell to 21-8 overall and 9-2 in division. "We just didn't have it tonight. We had a lot of unforced errors. I thought we played all right in certain areas, but we just didn't have a complete game."
In the first game, the Vikings held a 5-2 lead early on before the Tigers battled back to tie it at 11. Then Douglas scored 10 of the next 14 points to take a commanding 21-14 lead. Knight, a former South Tahoe player, recorded two of her four kills in the game down the stretch en route to the five-point victory.
In the second game, Douglas jumped out to a 9-1 lead - aided by three unforced errors from the Vikings and two aces by Cayla Knapp, another former South Tahoe player. Things continued to go downhill from there for South Tahoe, which fell behind 20-9 before mounting a small comeback at the end.
Unlike their impressive sweep of third-place Reno last Tuesday, the Vikings were never able to get their serve going against the Tigers. South Tahoe only had two aces against Douglas, compared with 18 against the Huskies.
"We didn't serve well tonight and we knew we had to serve Douglas tough to have a chance," Hankoff said. "Douglas is a very good team, but we made them look very good tonight. I don't know what else to say."
Dana Jensen, Jessica Bettencourt and Ali Bratton all had three kills for the Vikings. Caroline Baghdikian added two kills and two blocks for South Tahoe, which plays at Carson on Thursday. If the Vikings win, they will secure the No. 2 seed from the Sierra Division at next month's Northern 4A tournament. Katy Marsh had 16 assists for Douglas.