The pressure is on Carson High's volleyball team.
After Tuesday night's three-set loss (25-15, 25-13, 25-15) to Spanish Springs, the Senators are fighting for their playoff lives.
The loss dropped Carson to 5-8 in league play. Entering Tuesday's action, Carson, Wooster, Douglas and Galena were all 5-7. Three of the four teams will move on to regional play along with league-leading Bishop Manogue.
"The next three matches (Damonte, Wooster, Douglas) are big, and the girls know it," Carson coach Robert Maw said. "We have to get ready for them."
Carson has already split with Galena, and has the hammer on both Wooster and Douglas. If Carson can beat Wooster and Douglas that could be the deciding factor in a multiple-team tie.
Carson is certainly going to have to show a little more fight than it did against the High Desert-leading Cougars. The match is probably one that Carson didn't expect to win, but Maw certainly expected his team to show a little more fight and attitude.
"I was disappointed with our lack of aggressiveness," Maw said. "It was like we were the little kid on the block and we saw the bully coming. We didn't seem to want to fight very much out there."
Except for the first game when the Senators, after falling behind early 4-1, rallied to take a 11-9 lead. Juliana Anderson had two of her five kills in that span, while Courtney Hack and Danielle Good had one apiece.
The Cougars grabbed the momentum right back, scoring 10 of the next 11 points for a 19-12 lead. Briana Parrish had three kills, Melly Munley had two, and Parrish and Lyndsey Anderson combined for a block on Good.
Carson did close to 19-14 on kills by Kenzie Price and Marlene Quirarte, but the Cougars went on a 6-1 run to close out the match.
The Senators did hang around a little in Game 2, coming back from an early 6-1 deficit to a 12-10 deficit thanks to two Spanish Springs hitting errors and kills by Price and Gaby Palazzolo.
Spanish Springs, thanks to four Carson hitting errors and kills by Rachel Loadholt and Anderson bolted to a 20-12 lead. A service error made it 20-13, but the Cougars ran off the next five points to win. Four of those points were on errors by the Senators.
The third set was never close. Carson led 2-1, but Spanish Springs scored 13 of the next 16 points for a 14-5 lead. In that span, Carson had a ballhandling mistake, six hitting errors and a service error.
The Senators, thanks to two more kills by Anderson, an ace by Price and a kill by Kammy Forrest, did cut the lead to 20-15. Three Carson errors and two Spanish Springs blocks later, the Cougars nailed down the game and match.
It was the second win for the Cougars over Carson in four days. The teams met in last weekend's tournament in Sacramento, and the Cougars won both games.
"I think that gave them an advantage," Maw said. "That win took the wind out of our sails. Spanish Springs is a good team, and we're pretty flat right now."
"I think it helped (us)," Spanish Springs coach Frank Sandomenico said. "It gives us confidence. We hadn't seen them play before, not even on film. We played two really good games against them in Sacramento. The first game they (Carson) were pretty good."
Hack, who has been hampered by a sore wrist, had eight digs, eight assists and two kills, while Anderson had six digs and five kills. Savannah Smith contributed seven digs with Kenzie Price adding seven assists, five kills and three digs. Forrest had three blocks and three kills.