RENO - It was the same storyline fans had seen each of the two previous nights at the Northern 4A zone volleyball tournament.
Fallon High School started slow, but once rolling, there was no stopping the Greenwave on their way to a straight-set victory against Douglas in the tournament finals on Saturday at Galena High School.
Fallon rallied from an early deficit in game one to defeat the Tigers 15-7, 15-6, 15-4. The zone volleyball championship was the second in Fallon history, the other coming in a final against Douglas in 1996.
"They just took it to us," Douglas coach Dave Myers said. "They were firing on all cylinders and we weren't able to get the momentum back."
The Tigers jumped out to a 7-3 lead in game one, only to see Fallon respond with 12 unanswered points to put the game away.
That came as no surprise to Fallon coach Caryn Marshall, who had seen her team fall behind early in its zone opener against Reed on Thursday and then lose game one to Carson in the semifinals on Friday.
"We start a little shaky, but these girls come back and do what they have to do," Marshall said.
The Greenwave is buoyed by a nucleus of five returnees that went 18-2 during the 1998 regular season, then finished third at zone. The leader of that group is 6-foot junior Jennifer Hucke, who beat the floor with 15 kills and nine blocks, and two-time all-conference standout Monica Meihack, who had 10 kills. Hucke was named the tournament's MVP afterward.
Natalie Stratton and setter Jamie McCreary were named to the all-zone team for Douglas, as was Kaitlin Leck for Carson.
Carson coach Daryl James likes Fallon's chances at the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A state tournament, which starts Thursday at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas.
Douglas (1983 and '98), South Tahoe (1990) and Carson (1980) are the only Northern schools to ever win state large-school volleyball championships. Marshall said the Greenwave would like to join that list next week.
"The way they're clicking right now, everything seems to be coming together at the right time," Marshall said. "We're right where we want to be."
"I think they have a shot to win, at least from what I saw down South earlier this year," said James, whose Senators played in a 32-team Las Vegas tournament on Sept. 2-4. "I think any of the Northern teams have a chance to go down there and have an impact on the tournament."
Last year, Douglas lost to South Tahoe in the zone finals, then rebounded to win the state tournament a week later at Galena.
"We didn't have the answer today," Myers said. "But we'd like to come back and get another shot at them next week."
CARSON 3, RENO 2
One game away from defeat, the Carson Senators rallied to defeat Reno and secure the third-place seed from the North to next week's 4A state tournament.
Carson won the match 15-10, 7-15, 8-15, 15-10, 15-13.
"It was a good one to win, but we didn't play well," James said. "I think both teams were tired mentally from yesterday's matches. Playing as intense as we both did takes a toll."
Carson had enough to rally back after losing games two and three. The Senators closed out game four on two Alyson Thurman kills. Then game five came right down to the wire.
Carson went up 12-11 with the aid of a Heidi Alexander dig and out-of-bounds save by Leck that kept the rally alive. Leck delivered a kill to put the Senators on top 13-12. Davina Carter's tip at the net made it 14-13 and then Erin Menath put down a kill to end the match.
Leck finished with 29 kills to go with seven digs, three blocks and three aces for Carson. Thurman contributed 14 kills, 10 digs and three aces. Carter distributed 53 assists to go with eight kills, six digs and five aces. Menath also had 13 kills and Saunders eight.