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Tigers volleyball team hammer Lancers in 3

by Chuck Smock, sports editor

Scott Akimoto was looking for a total team effort when his Douglas Tigers played host to the McQueen Lancers on Wednesday in the first round of the 4A Northern Region volleyball tournament.

And that’s exactly what he got when the Tigers cruised to a 15-4, 15-4, 15-7 victory in a match that was never in doubt.

“We pretty much dominated them,” Akimoto said. “We’re trying to play at the highest level we can and we’re starting to do that. We’re trying to peak at the right time. We just need to stay healthy and play as hard as we can.”

The win over McQueen earned the Douglas girls a rematch with Galena in the Region semifinals. That match will start today at 10 a.m. at South Tahoe High.

Carson and Fallon will play in the other semifinal, which is scheduled to start at noon today at South Tahoe.

The two winners of the semifinal matches will play for the Region championship today at 6 p.m. The two losers will play at 4 p.m. in a third-place match, with the winner of that match securing the North’s third and final berth in next week’s state tournament.

“Our most important match will be Saturday morning because that will get us into state if that game,” said senior setter Jamie McCreary, who finished with 26 assists against McQueen. “We’re just going one game at a time right now.

“It took us five games (to beat Galena) last time, but that was at the beginning of the season. We’ve improved a lot since then.”

That improvement was obvious Wednesday night against the Lancers.

The Tigers jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first game. Chelsey Myers got Douglas going with a four-point service that was punctuated by a block and a kill from Megan Brinkmeyer.

Andrea Honer served out the match with kills from Emily Haas and Myers -both of which came on free balls off serve-receive errors – and a block by Haas, a sophomore, who along with eight of the other 13 Tigers was playing in her first Region tournament match

“I thought we would do perfectly fine,” Haas said. “I had a lot of encouragement from my teammates and my friends at school. I wasn’t nervous at all. I thought we were going to go out there and kick some butt. It felt really good to win in three games.”

The second game started like the first, with the Tigers building a 9-1 advantage with strong serving and net play. Myers slammed back-to-back kills in a four-point service run by Jencie LeJeune.

Jennifer McCrosky then entered the game and served two aces in a five-point run that established a 14-4 lead. Andrea Christian and Brinkmeyer each had a block in that run.

“I think we were pretty pumped up,” Brinkmeyer said. “Beating them in three games shows we know how to play and we play as a team. I think we’re all pretty excited, and it’s a great feeling.”

Douglas led 7-1 in the third game before McQueen by scoring six of the next seven points.

Strong serving runs by Myers, Brittany Addeo and Honer and kills by Lindsey Rollins, Haas and Brinkmeyer allowed the Tigers to close out the match.

Myers led the Tigers with 12 kills. She also had nine digs and two aces.

Haas added nine kills and six digs. Brinkmeyer finished with five kills and three blocks. LeJeune had four kills and four digs. Honer led Douglas with 13 digs.

And now the Tigers turn their attention to the Galena Grizzlies.

“Our net play and our setting is what’s going to save us,” Akimoto said. “We struggled a little bit defensively and struggled a little with our serve-receive passing, but (setter) Jamie (McCreary) was awesome. There were some balls she had to run for and I was pretty impressed with what she did with a lot of those balls. It was fun to see.”

If the Tigers (15-2) can beat the Grizzlies (13-4), it will set up a showdown with either Fallon (17-0) or Carson (14-3) for the Region championship. The Greenwave and the Senators are the only teams to beat Douglas this season, although the Tigers avenged their loss to Carson in the Sierra League finale.

“We haven’t played up to our full potential,” McCreary said. “If we can do that, I think we can beat anybody.”