Don't be surprised to see the Douglas Tigers and Fallon Greenwave face off when the Northern 4A Regional Volleyball Tournament championship match is played Saturday night in Minden. The two teams have a history against each other and come in as the top two seeds for the regional tournament, which starts Friday at Douglas High School.
Stay tuned, though, because there is an ample supply of willing challengers waiting in the wings.
"It should be a good tournament," said Douglas coach Kira Brown, whose squad comes in as the defending regional champion. "There's some good teams and some good players in our conference."
It all gets started Friday when Carson plays McQueen at 2 p.m., Galena plays South Tahoe at 4, Douglas plays Elko at 6 and Wooster and Fallon play at 7:30. Action in the semifinals begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, with the championship match tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m.
Three berths into the NIAA/U.S. Bank State Tournament at Galena High School next week, Nov. 14-16, are at stake.
Douglas (12-5) comes in as the Sierra League champion and opens against Elko, the No. 4 seed from the High Desert League. Brown doesn't care about records or seedings at this time of year, though.
"Anything can happen at tournament time," Brown said. "You never know until the last point."
That was never more evident than last year when Douglas staged a dramatic comeback to defeat Galena in the regional semifinals -- 13-15, 12-15, 15-4, 17-15, 23-21.
Oh, and by the way, Douglas and Galena could meet again in the semifinals, providing they win their openers.
"The semifinals are big," Brown said. "The winner automatically goes to state; the loser has to win again to get to state."
Incidentally, Douglas has played in the regional tournament finals in each of the last 11 years.
High Desert League champion Fallon (18-0) and Douglas have been familiar rivals in recent years, having combined to win six of the last seven Northern 4A championships. Douglas defeated Fallon to win the regional championship last year. Fallon defeated Douglas in the finals in both 1999 and 2000, and the Greenwave won state championships both years.
Douglas lost at Fallon last Tuesday in a regular-season ending match, 15-11, 8-15, 15-12, 15-6.
"Fallon is a very strong team," Brown said. "I think the biggest thing is their consistency. Tristen (Adams) obviously does a good job setting and Carly (Sorenson) is a strong outside hitter, but their other players are really solid. They get their kills and get their digs."
The Tigers aren't looking past their opening-round match against Elko, by any means.
"I haven't seen Elko, but I have heard they are scrappy and it's always scary to play a team like that," Brown said. "They don't have any big hitters, just a lot of scrappy players who get the ball back over the net one way or the other.
"I definitely think any team is beatable, so you have to play consistent," she added. "Volleyball is such a momentum game, you always have to make sure you're ready."