On paper, the Carson High volleyball team should finish third at this weekend's Northern 4A tournament and qualify for the NIAA/U.S. Bank State Championships.
But Carson coach Daryl James also knows that statement is worth about as much as the paper it's printed on.
Carson will begin its quest for a state berth when it plays McQueen at 2 p.m. Friday in a first round playoff match at Douglas High. If Carson, the Sierra League's No. 2 seed, can beat McQueen, the High Desert League's No. 3 seed, it would advance to a semifinal match at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The championship match is set for 6 p.m. while the third place match is set for 4 p.m. Saturday at Douglas. The top three teams advance to the state tournament to be held Nov. 14-16 at Galena.
In 3A volleyball, Dayton High will also begin its quest for a state title.
"We're playing," James said. "We're going to show up. We'll be there. The No. 1 goal is to make it to the next weekend."
If Carson beats McQueen, it figures to face unbeaten Fallon in the semifinals. Fallon will play Wooster in a first round match.
But James knows his team can't look ahead to Fallon "or we will not be going back Saturday."
"I assume they're a good club," said James about McQueen. "I assume all eight teams are good clubs.
"The tournament is a different atmosphere. Now you're playing to survive."
Fallon would have to be considered the favorite, followed by Douglas. Fallon defeated Douglas at the end of the season.
The Tigers have beaten Carson twice this season, but the second win came in a five-game thriller that could have gone either way.
"Fallon has met every challenge and Douglas has met every challenge except Fallon," James said.
If the tournament goes according to form, Carson would play Galena for third and the final spot in the state event. The Senators have won two of three matches from the Grizzlies this season, but James noted that all those matches happened early in the year.
James also noted that South Tahoe has beaten Galena this year. "I don't think Tahoe is out of, either," said James, whose team has beaten the Vikings twice this season.
Carson has a balanced attack. "I think we're as balanced as anybody," James said. "Whether we're as good as anybody, who knows."
Among the leaders have been Rachael DeRiemer, Alyssa Wilson and Shannon Devereaux. Tabitha Adams has set the attack.
"She's a good athlete," said James about Adams. "Tabby does a great job."
With only one senior in Rachel Hurt, Dayton volleyball coach Sondra McMullen said her team could even be better next year.
"This team should really develop into something," said McMullen about next year.
That's saying something since this year's team finished as co-champions of the Northern 3A division at 13-1 with Manogue. Both teams split their regular season matches, but Manogue received the No. 1 seed into the Northern 3A tournament because it won in the second round.
Dayton, the No. 2 seed, would likely play the No. 3 seed Lowry at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Manogue. If Dayton wins its semifinal match, it would advance to the state tournament as the top two teams in the zone event will advance to state. The championship match will be played at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Manogue.
"That is the obvious goal," said McMullen about winning in the semifinals. "Once we win that one, we know we're going to state."
But McMullen knows what could happen if her team looks past a possible matchup with Lowry.
"They have a lot of ability," said McMullen about Lowry. "I'm not looking ahead to state. You can't be overconfident. That's the worst thing we can do."
McMullen said she's been surprised by this year's team. "I knew that we were going to be good," she said.
"I didn't expect us to do this well. I would have never guessed we'd be in this position."
Dayton's balanced attack is led by Carey Kytle, Hurt and Amanda Sbragia. Kytle has five more kills than Hurt on the season to lead the team and Sbragia is only about 10 kills behind Hurt.
Setters Sarah Connet and Bridgette Galles also have almost the same amout of assists on the season. "I was amazed," said McMullen about how close Connet and Galles were in assists.
Amanda Ring is a versatile all-around player while Danielle Rodriguez is her team's best defensive player, McMullen said. Natalie Malekos and Lauren Brown are also solid back row players. April Thompson, Vienna Cabrita and Caleah Barnwell add depth.
TRIPLE A IN RENO?
Let the speculation begin. The Pacific Coast League and Sierra Nevada Baseball have scheduled a press conference for Friday in which a "significant announcement" will be made concerning the future of professional baseball in Northern Nevada.
The obvious assumption is an announcement will be made concerning the possibility of a Triple A baseball team coming to Reno.
Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.