Volleyball team gears for HOMESTRETCH
Losing can be regarded as failure. Then again, it can also turn into a learning experience.
On Monday, Douglas High volleyball coach Suzi Townsell combined the two as she cast an optimistic eye toward the homestretch of the Tigers’ regular season.
“There are times when you have bumps in the road, but you’ve got to get over those,” Townsell said after the Tigers lost matches on back-to-back nights last week against Sierra League front-runners Bishop Manogue and Carson.
“You fail forward … that is something you learn from,” she added.
Douglas (8-4 league, 19-9 overall) dropped a tough decision on Tuesday when Carson rallied from a two-set deficit to win 10-25, 12-25, 25-18, 29-27 and 17-15. The Tigers lost on Wednesday at home against first-place Manogue 25-20, 25-12, 25-23.
The Tigers had little time to rest because they came back to play five matches Friday and Saturday at the Southern California Invitational in San Diego. The Tigers went 1-2 on Friday when they defeated St. Margaret’s (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) 28-26, 13-25, 19-17. They lost to Del Norte (San Diego) 25-19, 25-15; and lost to Utah’s top-ranked team, Pleasant Grove 25-17, 25-13.
Pleasant Grove won three straight Utah 5A state championships between 2012-14 and was the 2015 state runner-up.
“We played our best (tournament match) against them,” Townsell said of Pleasant Grove. “They’re trees — five or six of them are over 6 feet — but we blocked well and played great defense. We just couldn’t get our passing or our offense going.”
Trees? She wasn’t kidding, by any means. Sara Hamson, a 6-foot-7 opposite hitter, has given a verbal commitment to play both volleyball and basketball at BYU. Teammate Heather Gneiting, a 6-5 junior middle blocker, has also given BYU volleyball a verbal commitment. And 6-5 senior middle blocker Malli Valgardson has committed to play basketball for BYU.
On Saturday, the Tigers lost to a pair of Southern California opponents, La Salle (Pasadena, Calif.) 25-15, 20-15, 15-9 and to Westview (San Diego) 25-15, 25-22.
“The good competition and being able to see a lot of different looks is going to help our team prepare for what we’re going to see later on in the season,” Townsell said.
She went on to praise 6-foot sophomore Hailey Hughes for her “consistent hitting,” along with freshman Anna Bertolone and middle blocker Isabelle Peterson and setter Talyn Jackson.
Looking ahead, the Tigers visit Wooster on Thursday and Galena on Tuesday before they conclude the regular season on Oct. 27 at home against arch rival Carson.
The Northern 4A Region Tournament opens Nov. 1 with first-round matches that will be hosted by higher seeds. The tournament semifinals and finals will be held at Galena High in Reno.
The 4A state tournament will be held on Nov. 11-12 in the North at a site still to be determined.
Douglas defeated Manogue 25-19, 25-22. Lindsay Marangi had 5 kills in 5 attempts. Haylee Harjes and Lexi Gunnel handled the assists for Douglas.
Manogue defeated the Tigers 25-11, 25-18. Meika Cole and Grace McKay led the Tigers with six and four kills respectively.