Volleyball: Loss came at the wrong time for Tigers

There might be a tendency for the Douglas volleyball team to focus on the match that ended their season.

Any time your season ends earlier than expected, that tends to be the case.

But that would simply be missing the bigger picture.

A couple things to consider:

Douglas took on the eventual 4A, 3A and 2A state champions at various times during the regular season and came away victorious against each.

They also beat the eventual state runners-up in both the 4A and 3A classes.

The Tigers put together win streaks of 20 and 14 matches and had a win streak of 18 matches against Northern Nevada opponents.

They clinched the Sierra League title for the second-consecutive year and the eighth-time in the nine years since the league was established.

And yet, there was that loss.

Taking on a tough Bishop Manogue team in the Miners' own gym for the regional semifinals, Douglas simply ran out of steam at the worst possible time.

Seven times they brought the fourth-ranked Miners to game point in the first two games, and still Manogue found some way to win. In the end, it was a 26-24, 28-26, 25-14 sweep. But, it was in no way representative of the Tigers' season on the whole.

"They were an incredible team," said second-year coach Suzi Townsell. "To go undefeated in league play was remarkable when you consider the caliber of the teams were were taking on every night."

Indeed, five Sierra League teams were ranked among the region's top 10, and each one presented their own sets of matchup difficulties.

And still, the Tigers emerged from league play with a spotless record.

"They fought with blood, sweat and tears every night," Townsell said. "It'll be a team I'm always going to remember."

For the team's four seniors, it's a tough way to go out.

The trio of Megan Mitchell, Taryn Williams and Jessica Waggoner were called up to varsity as sophomores, only to watch a rebuilding and oft-injured squad become the first in school history to not claim the Sierra League title.

They were instrumental, along with the defensive contributions of fellow classmate Jordan Marsh, in reclaiming the in-league dominance for the program the following season and led the program to new heights this season.

But they're departure will bring with it continued hope.

The Tigers will return 10 players, all of whom saw significant playing time this year, next season.

Among the leaders will be outside hitter Jourdan Burke, who led the team in kills with 274. The front line will return Emily Garcia (92 blocks), Bryanna Schinzing (87 blocks) and Jamie Lorntzen (81) while sophomore backup setter Jackie Harper (132 assists) got a good introduction to the varsity level.

Douglas will return its top defensive players, Mysta and Mia Townsell, and a host of outside talent " Shannon Dugan, Christine DuPuis and Rebecca Antti.

Add to it a junior varsity squad that went 11-3 in league play and a freshman squad that was 13-1 and things look pretty good for the future.


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