Volleyball: Tigers’ dream season comes up just short | RecordCourier.com

Volleyball: Tigers’ dream season comes up just short

by Joey Crandall

It doesn’t get much closer than Saturday’s five-game epic regional championship match between Douglas and Reno.

The Huskies eventually prevailed, but Douglas was left with plenty of optimism for next year.

From the opening weekend of the season, it appeared that the Tigers would be the team to beat. They did everything during the course of the year to live up to that billing, clinching its seventh Sierra League title in the eight years since the league was established.

Douglas had a small core of seniors to lead the way, including Bridget Maestretti, who had started for the Tigers since their last trip to the regional championship game in 2005.

Defensive specialist Mary Lombino was the team’s floor leader, and added 245 digs to lead the receiving game.

Allie Hughes took turns on the outside and at setter during the year, and was proficient at each, and outside hitter Alyssa Todd had a breakout final year.

But it was Douglas’ young nucleus of standouts that propelled the Tigers through the season.

Sophomore Jourdan Burke led the attack with 226 kills on the year, junior Jessica Waggoner led the team in blocks with 178, junior Megan Mitchell led the team in assists with 596 and junior Taryn Williams led the team in aces with 36.

In total, five of Douglas’ starters will be back next year, but everyone on the Tiger roster put in plenty of minutes this season.

The Tigers’ depth became apparent early on, as they cycled through the entire bench nearly every match, regardless of how close the score was.

Through the course of that, sophomores Mysta Townsell and Jordan Marsh emerged as two of the team’s top receivers and junior Melissa Brown established herself as a force in the middle, rotating in with Waggoner and Maestretti.

Sophomore Christine DuPuis also got significant time on the outside, and should shift into a larger role next season.

Add to it that the freshman and junior varsity programs each enjoyed successful seasons, and Douglas is in for a promising future.

Douglas defeated budding rival Damonte Ranch five times during the course of the season, and swept two from archrival Carson. The Tigers swept through the final seven matches of the regular season to clinch the league title. They also had an 18-game win streak during that stretch.

The Tigers finished the year with a 33-5 record overall under first-year head coach Suzi Townsell. They went 13-1 in Sierra League play and won 82 of their 105 games on the year.