Fast start, ugly in the middle and a gutty finish.
That best described Carson High’s 25-18, 25-19, 17-25, 21-25 and 16-14 upset of second-place Galena on Thursday night in a Sierra League match at Morse Burley Gym.
Carson, which played without front-liner Gaby Palazzolo, improved to 5-5 on the season as it strives to get one of the four Sierra League post-season spots.
“We’re young,” Carson coach Robert Maw said. “We had to get them to settle down after that fourth game; control their emotions. That’s what it took.”
Even then Maw may have added a few gray hairs, especially in the tense fifth game.
Brooke Larsen’s kill gave the Grizzlies an 11-8 lead, but Carson stormed back to score four straight points for a 12-11 edge. Yana Spence, who finished with five kills in the match, started the rally when she knocked down a spike off a Galena block attempt, and then pushed a ball into the middle of the Galena defense to make it 11-10. Galena was called for double-hit on a set to make it 11-11, and then Casey Kline hit it out, enabling Carson to take the lead.
“Yana has that uncanny ability to hit it soft or push it (to an open space),” Maw said. “With our other hitters pounding away, it’s a nice change of pace.”
Galena scored two straight to take a 13-12 lead, but another kill by Spence and a hitting error by Kourtney Sidener enabled the Senators to take a 14-13 lead. Sidener tied it at 14 with a kill, but Carson scored the next two points to end the match. A hitting error by Morgan Stosic and a deep kill by Juliana Anderson (20 kills for the match) ended it.
In the opening set, Carson scored 10 straight points to wipe out a 12-11 deficit and take a 21-12 lead. Freshman Jaycie Roberts served up three aces in the barrage and Anderson hammered down a spike. Galena contributed to its own demise with three hitting errors and a net violation. Galena did close to 24-18, but a hitting error by Sidener ended the opening game.
The second game followed the same script.
Carson broke open a 12-11 game with a 9-3 run to grab a 21-14 lead. Danielle Good had two aces, Anderson contributed two kills and Savannah Smith added one of her eight kills in the game-changing surge. Again, Galena made a run at Carson, closing the gap to 24-19 before Allison Kibbe ended the game with a kill, one of four on the night.
“That’s probably the best we’ve played all year,” Maw said. “We were able to keep Galena from making many big runs. That was our strategy, play sideout defense.”
That went out the window in the third and fourth games, much to Maw’s chagrin.
After a Danielle Good dink closed Galena’s lead to 14-13, the Grizzlies scored eight of the next 10 points for a 22-15 lead. Jillian Gunderson served up an ace and Nina Hendi served up two in the run, while Widener pounded down two kills. Spence countered with a block to make it 22-16, but the Grizzlies scored three of the next four points to cut Carson’s lead to 2-1. A service error by Smith and a hitting error by Marlenne Quirarte accounted for two of Galena’s final three points. Widener had the other point with a kill.
Galena led 16-10 in Game 4, but two kills by Anderson and an ace by Roberts tied the match at 16. The match was tied at 17, 18 and 20 before the Grizzlies scored five of the last six points to even the match at 2. Larsen had two kills in that span and the Senators had two hitting errors.
That set the stage for the deciding game which was tied at 11, 12, 13 and 14 before Carson put it away.
Smith, besides her eight kills, had eight digs and six blocks. Kylie Riske, who played despite a sore hip, had 5.5 blocks, while Gina Peacock and Good added 4.5 each. Roberts led the team with 17 digs and six aces. Good finished with five aces.
Carson hosts Reed at 6 p.m. Tuesday.