It was hard to tell whether Carson took Galena lightly Thursday, or if the Grizzlies have improved since the first time the teams met back on Oct. 7.
Carson lost a 26-28 thriller in the opening set and then went on to win 25-17, 25-20 and 28-26 at Morse Burley Gym for its 12th straight Northern Division I victory which clinched a first-round home match and set the stage for a showdown next Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Reno with Sierra League co-leader Bishop Manogue.
Carson beat the Miners in five sets back on Oct. 9, so if nothing else it gives the Senators a mental edge going into the match. Manogue has won four straight since its loss to Carson, while the Senators haven’t lost since Sept. 11 at Reed. Both teams are 13-1.
One thing is certain, Carson must play better than it did against Galena,
“It isn’t what we do,” Carson coach Robert Maw said. “We try to focus on one game at a time. I guess I didn’t expect them to get better and for us to go down a little like we did tonight. They had a pretty good game plan for us tonight, and we didn’t pass very well. But, we won our 12th straight, got a home playoff game and we’re playing for a share of the title on Tuesday. I know a lot of guys that would like to be in that spot.”
“I know I’m supposed to say no, but the hype after the first match against Manogue, we definitely could have been overlooking Galena,” hitter Juliana Anderson said. “We may have gotten caught up in the hype.”
Especially Anderson, who admittedly was non existent in the first two sets with a combined two kills and three hitting errors. She finished with nine kills and 11 digs. Roberts was off her game a bit early with three hitting errors.
The first set went from 14 to 18-all before Galena bolted to a 23-18 lead on a double hit, an error by Jaycie Roberts, a lift by Carson, a block by Alison French and a kill by Katherine Pintar. Kills by Maddie Jergesen and a kill by Kylie Riske (2 kills, 2 digs and 4.5 blocks) plus an error by Pintar enabled Carson to close to 23-21. A bad set gave Galena a 24-21 lead, but a dink by Keelin Pilgrim, an erro by French and a service ace by Sarah Christl tied the set at 24.
Roberts gave Carson a 25-24 lead, but a dink by setter Jillian Gunderson tied the match at 25. Carson went up 26-25 on an error by Gunderson, but the Grizzles, on the strength of two kills by Taryn Johnson, closed out the match with three straight points.
Jaycie Roberts had a bit of a struggle in the first game with three hitting errors.
Carson bolted to a 11-5 lead in the second set behind the net play of Roberts, Jergesen, Ali Kibbe and Kylie Riske. Kills by Johnson and Pintar, an ace by Johnson and an error by Jergesen enabled the Grizzlies to cut Carson’s lead to 14-11. The CHS lead stayed at three points until Roberts put a downball into the corner, Galena made two straight errors and Jergesen blocked Morgan Stosic at the net for a 23-16 lead. Carson was called for a net violation to make it 23-17, but Juliana Anderson hammered one off a Galena block and the Grizzlies followed with an error on set point.
The Grizzlies stormed back in the third set, scoring nine of the first 13 points. Carson, thanks to three kills by Roberts, one ace and one kill by Julian Anderson plus a kill by Jergesen tied the match at 11. The Grizzlies went ahead briefly, 13-11, on two Carson errors, but that would be the Grizzlies’ last lead of the night.
Carson scored seven of the next 10 points on a dink by Natalie Anderson (3 aces, 4 kills, 36 assists and 3.5 blocks) and kills by Roberts, Juiana Anderson and Jergesen plus an ace by Riske. Galena closed to 19-8 on Natalie Anderson’s service error, but two more kills by Jergesen, one by Roberts and an ace serve by Juliana Anderson made it 23-18. Lauren Raggio’s kill made it 23-19, but the Grizzlies gave the point right back on Pintar’s hitting error. After Makenzie Tucker’s serve went long to make it 24-20, Roberts (19 kills, 2 blocks, 13 digs) gave Carson a 2-1 edge with a kill.
The Senators dominated the final game, and Juliana Anderson woke up. She had four of her kills and two aces in that pivotal last game.
A 6-0 surge, thanks to four Galena errors and kills by Riske and Natalie Anderson, helped Carson to a quick 10-3 lead. Galena did close to 11-8 thanks to the play of Johnson (ace and a kill), but the Senators strung together six straight points and a 17-8 lead. Juliana Anderson had back-to-back kills and back-to-back aces in that span. Roberts and Jergesen also produced kills.
What should have been easy got difficult, as Galena went on a 10-2 run to make it 19-18, as French had two kills and a stuff block. Two kills by Juliana Anderson and one by Roberts helped the Senators to a 23-20 advantage. Galena tied the match at 23 with three straight points. The teams traded points until Galena went ahead 26-25 when Carson was called for a lift. Roberts and Pilgrim registered kills to give Carson a 27-26 lead, and then Roberts closed it with a kill, which appeared to be a mishit because she misjudged the set from Natalie Anderson. No worries. It will look like a 100 mph heater on the stat sheet.
Anderson said she was off earlier this week against Wooster.
“It was not even close (to a good game),” Anderson said. “I wasn’t following through which meant the ball was staying high. I’m just glad I got it turned around at the end and helped us win.”
“She wasn’t snapping it,” Maw said. “I noticed it the last couple of days in practice. We took her out for a bit and talked to get her back in the right frame of mind.”