Tigers gear for challenge of Huskies | RecordCourier.com

Tigers gear for challenge of Huskies

Isabella Tomassi spikes the ball for Douglas against Carson on Tuesday night at Morse Burley Gym. Shown blocking for Carson are Ku'ulei Haupu (23) and Stephanie Schmidt (8).

It isn't quite the rematch the Douglas High volleyball team had hoped for. Then again, the Tigers are more than happy to play at Reno Tuesday night in a Northern 4A Region tournament match.

Douglas (18-12 overall), the Sierra League's No. 4 seed, will be up against a formidable challenge when they face High Desert League champion Reno (28-2) for the fourth time this season. The Huskies have won the three previous matches, and by the way, they outlasted the Tigers in a five-set thriller for the 2016 region tournament championship.

Douglas staged a big comeback in that region final on Nov. 5, 2016, only to see Reno prevail by scores of 25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 19-25, 15-9. This isn't the championship round, however, the Tigers are ready for the challenge in any round and on any court.

"We're excited," said Suzi Townsell, who is in her 11th year as head coach at Douglas. "It would have been more fun (to meet in the finals), but it's good to be here. We have a great mindset … we're excited for the challenge."

Douglas battled its way into playoff contention with a three-match win streak during the final two weeks, including crucial wins over Damonte Ranch and Galena, and wound up with fourth-place after a closely-contested 3-2 loss at Carson on Tuesday night.

"We let it slip through our hands," Townsell said of the Carson match. "But that's not going to deter us. We want to keep our season going."

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No less than three blue chip athletes will be on the floor for both teams. Douglas setter/outside hitter Talyn Jackson, a 5-foot-11 senior, is coming off a sterling all-around performance against Carson in which she registered 21 kills, 29 assists and seven digs. The Huskies are led by 6-foot senior outside hitter Parker Buddy (2016 High Desert Player of the Year) and 5-10 junior middle blocker Kaitlyn Biassou. Junior setter Karson Nakagawa was also a first-team all-league selection last year.

"They have a core of four players who have played together since they were 10-12 years old," Townsell said of the Huskies. "Parker is a great player and Kaitlyn is such a fast set, you have to change your blocking style for her."

The Tigers showed progress in their third meeting this season against Reno in the finals of the Carmichael Invitational Volleyball Tournament in the Sacramento area on Oct. 14. The Huskies won in two straight sets, however, Townsell said she felt the 25-23 and 25-19 scores were indicative of how the Tigers played in that match.

"We were on fire in that first game," she said.

The region semifinals and finals are scheduled to be played Thursday and Saturday (Nov. 4) at Reno High School. One team will advance to the NIAA State Championships on Nov. 10-11 at Faith Lutheran High School in Las Vegas.

REGION TOURNAMENT

First-round matches:

Douglas at Reno, 6 p.m.

Spanish Springs at Carson, 6 p.m.

Damonte Ranch at McQueen, 6 p.m.

Reed at Bishop Manogue, 6 p.m.

Note: Carson won the tie-breaker over Damonte Ranch with a higher point for wins by defeated opponents (including one-half credit for wins by defeated High Desert League opponents in cross-over matches). On that criteria, Carson won, 52-47. … NIAA ticket prices for playoff games are $10 for adults and $5 for students, with children 8-and-under admitted free. Booster passes, coaches passes or student ID with ASB stickers are not accepted.