RENO - Douglas High School continued an impressive streak at the Northern 4A zone volleyball tournament Thursday afternoon.
And in the process, the Tigers showed some character by rallying from a 14-10 deficit in game four to close out a victory against Reno during the semifinals at Galena High School.
Douglas won the match 12-15, 15-6, 15-11, 16-14 to advance into the zone finals for the eighth year in a row. The Tigers (16-4) play Fallon (19-1) for the championship today at 4 p.m. at Galena. They have won three zone titles in the 1990s to go with a state championship last season.
Douglas coach Dave Myers was obviously enthused about the fourth-game comeback.
"That was a really good accomplishment, quite a statement to the desire of the girls," Myers said.
Even when they were at game point and trailing 14-9 in game four, Douglas co-captain Natalie Stratton remained unconcerned.
"I knew we weren't going to lose," said Stratton, a third-year varsity veteran. "I felt we just needed to calm down. Nobody was tentative, everyone was aggressive and ready to win."
Myers gave credit to Reno's defensive scheme, pointing out that the Huskies had 84 digs.
"They had a superb defensive effort," he said. "At times, their game plan was not to block, just dig, and they did a great job of it."
"In the end, I think we were able to overcome their defense with our strength at the net."
Douglas was aided at the net by its overwhelming size. Darshaya Mustacchio, a 6-foot-3 middle blocker, finished with 13 kills and 15 blocks. Jennifer Koenig, a 6-foot senior, contributed nine kills and 15 blocks and Jessica Granat, a 6-1 senior, had eight kills. Setter Jamie McCreary handed out 47 assists.
Others stepped up to help out in game four, including the sophomore trio of Katie Calzada, Andrea Honer and Jencie Le Jeune. For example, Honer served up a four-point run while Calzada put down back-to-back kills and a diving save to keep another rally alive as the Tigers pulled into a 6-6 tie. Le Jeune delivered a kill over the middle for side out to end a run that put Reno up 11-6, then she put down a stuff block to tie it at 14-14.
In between, Stratton put down a block and delivered a kill as the Tigers cut their deficit to 14-11. The 5-foot-6 outside hitter delivered yet another kill, her eighth of the match, to put the Tigers on top, 15-14.
Serving consistency was another key, according to Myers.
"We didn't miss more than two serves in any one game."
It didn't matter to McCreary who the Tigers would play in the finals - Carson or Fallon.
"We're 1-1 against both, we want another chance at both of them. We'd like to break the tie," she said.
"I'm looking forward to it more than anything," senior Lauren Myers said. "We're playing so much better now than we were at the beginning of the year. It's (Fallon) going to be a great game. It's going to be tough, but hopefully we can win."