Douglas volleyball builds momentum
October 21, 2017
Just two weeks ago, the Douglas Tigers were scrapping for their playoff lives in the Sierra League volleyball race.
Coming off a convincing 3-0 Senior Night win on Thursday against Galena, however, the Tigers are back in the top four and have second-place within reach.
"We're a very competitive team … we were tired of losing so we just kind of got our head in the game more and started pushing to win," said Talyn Jackson, a fourth-year varsity veteran who plays an all-around role as setter and outside hitter for the Tigers.
Douglas (9-6 league, 18-11 overall) won at Randy Green Court by scores of 25-22, 25-20, 25-20 to climb out a fourth-place tie with Galena (8-7, 20-10) in the Sierra standings.
The Tigers conclude their season Tuesday against arch rival Carson in the state capital. A win in that match would give Douglas a shot at no worse than a second-place tie and possibly sole possession, should Carson lose its home match on Monday against Bishop Manogue and Damonte Ranch lose against Galena on Tuesday.
A second-place finish receives home court advantage for the first round of the Northern 4A Region Tournament, which opens on Oct. 31. The semifinals and finals are scheduled for Nov. 2 and Nov. 4 at Reno High School. One team will represent the North at the state tournament on Nov. 10-11 at Faith Lutheran High School in Las Vegas.
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All of these projections were in doubt on Oct. 12 when Douglas took a fifth-place league record of 6-6 to Damonte Ranch. The Tigers had lost three straight league matches and five of six, then fell behind 2-1 against Damonte.
That's when the momentum began to turn, however, as they rallied to beat the Mustangs in those final two sets and sparked some momentum in the process.
Now, the Tigers have won eight of their last nine matches, including three straight against Sierra League opponents. The Tigers also traveled to the Sacramento area last weekend and posted a 5-1 record at the Carmichael Invitational Volleyball Tournament, their only loss coming at the hands of Reno in the finals.
"We kind of got our groove back together at the Sacramento tournament," said Jackson, who has verbally committed to Virginia Tech. "As a team, we have more energy now."
The Damonte Ranch win was significant, too.
"We were really proud of that win," she said. "When we went to Sacramento, we had that in our minds. It gave us momentum."
A solid team effort helped the Tigers continue their momentum on Thursday night against Galena.
The first set saw six early lead changes before Douglas took charge. The Tigers received contributions from different players during a 5-0 run that extended their lead to 21-16. Hannah Kyle had a kill and ace. Caitlyn Costa put down two kills off assists from Jackson. Jolee Godde accounted for the final point in the run with a block. Robyne Foster fed a quick middle set to Jackson, who put it away for a kill that pushed the lead to 24-21.
In the second set, Jackson put down three straight kills and Costa served an ace to put the Tigers out front, 10-4. The Tigers continued to stretch their lead as they attacked from all directions during one sequence — Alex DeMaranville-Robinson had kill from the left side, Jackson set Acosta for a kill on the right side and Jackson set Kyle over the middle to give the Tigers a 18-9 advantage. Jackson closed the set out when she took a set from Foster and buried a shot from the right side.
In the third set, the Tigers never trailed after Hailey Hughes and Jackson combined on a block that made it 7-6. Jackson had seven kills in that final set and no less than three of those were momentum-changers. One ended a 4-0 Galena run, off a nice dig by Erika Leitenbauer, after Galena rallied to within 13-11. Later, Foster fed Jackson with a quick set over the middle to make it 23-19. Foster and Jackson collaborated on a kill from the right side as the Tigers reached set and match point, 24-20.
Notes: Six seniors were honored during a pre-match ceremony on the court, including Sierra Franklin, Scarlett Harmon, DeMaranville-Robinson, Costa, Foster and Jackson.
Douglas improved its season record to 15-1 with a straight set win over Galena. The Tigers won 25-12, 25-12. Kyla Palaroan and Alyssa Jenkins had four aces each and Sophia Marieich three. Sage Hubkey and Marieich contributed three kills each and Maddy Surane had two.