Heading into the home stretch, Carson High’s volleyball team knows it needs to play much better than .500 volleyball to make the post-season party, and Tuesday was a good start.
Thanks to the hitting of Savannah Smith, Allison Kibi, Gaby Palazzolo and Yana Spence, the Senators knocked off rival Douglas 25-21, 19-25, 25-16 and 25-22 in a Sierra League match at Morse Burley Gym.
Carson, which entered the match one game behind Wooster for the final Sierra League playoff spot, improved to 4-5. Douglas dropped to a disappointing 1-8. Carson hosts Galena at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“It was a good win,” Carson coach Robert Maw said. “It’s always good when you beat your rival.
“We put in a new defense. It’s more of a rotation defense. You have to read different hitting spots on the floor. We got a little lazy in the second game, and it cost us.”
With top hitter Juliana Anderson struggling because of illness, the Senators relied on Smith, Spence, Palazzolo and Kibi for key points throughout the match. Spence and Kibi had seven kills apiece, Smith added six and Palazzolo added five. Kibi hit at an amazing 35.3 percent and Spence was at 29.2, both impressive marks. Maw was impressed with the floor play of Jaycie Roberts and Makenzie Tucker, who finished with 11 and five kills, respectively. Kylie Riske contributed a team-high five blocks.
In the opening set, Carson rolled to an early 9-1 lead thanks to two aces by Roberts, two kills by Spence, one by Riske and two net violations on the Tigers. Douglas fought back and eventually tied the match at 13 thanks to two kills by Ariah Barth and one each by Katie McCullough and Jessa Gansberg.
Carson scored eight of the next 10 points to open up a 21-15 lead, as Riske had two kills, Spence added one and Anderson added one. Sarah Christl added an ace in the barrage. Gansberg put down two kills to make it 22-17. A hitting error by the Tigers’ Kristina Bauman and a kill by Palazzolo made it 24-19. The Tigers wouldn’t go away, however, scoring four straight points to make it 24-21. Madeline Lowe and McCullough had kills, and Carson had two errors. Smith ended the game with a kill despite a strong Douglas block attempt.
In Game 2, Barth had three kills early to give the Tigers an 11-7 lead. The lead stayed at four points until Lowe and Shelby Van Winkle scored to make it 15-9. The lead increased to 21-13 when Carson was called for a net violation, made a bad pass off a Van Winkle serve and then the Senators were called for an illegal shift. A 5-1 run by Carson , keyed by a kill and block by Smith, made it 23-19. Douglas scored the next two points to close out Carson.
Carson started the third set fast, scoring seven of the first eight points thanks to two aces by Roberts and kills by Spence and Riske. An ace and kill by Barth enabled the Tigers to close to 11-8, but Carson roared back with five straight points for a 16-8 lead. Spence and Palazzolo had key kills to spark CHS. Douglas got kills from Barth and Gansberg to make it 19-13, but a hitting error by Barth, a bad pass that hit the ceiling and was unplayable and a kill by Kibi made it 22-13. Carson’s last two points of the game came on Douglas errors.
The Senators bolted to a 9-2 lead in the final game, as Tucker served up two aces and Smith added two kills. Smith had another kill and Danielle Good served up an ace to make it 11-3. The lead stayed around eight or nine until two kills by Marlenne Quirarte and an error by McCullough made it 18-8. The Tigers went on an 11-1 run moments later to cut the lead to 21-20. Barth had a kill and ace, Van Winkle added a kill and Kristina Barnum added a block. Carson had two hitting errors and a net violation in the sequence, too. Kills by Quirarte and Kibi plus a net violation made it 24-20. A service error by Riske and a Palozzolo hitting error made it 24-22 before Smith hammered home the match-winner despite a strong block by McCullough.
“This team is as talented as our last championship team (2010),” DHS coach Suzy Townsell said. “Talent doesn’t win games per se. It’s about chemistry and teamwork. If you don’t have teamwork you aren’t going to get very far. There were parts when we played great and times where we weren’t consistent. Hopefully we can turn the corner.”