MINDEN -- Fittingly, the Carson and Douglas high school volleyball teams went back and forth in their Sierra League championship shoot-out on Thursday night. In the end, Emily Haas and the Douglas Tigers seized the momentum and squeezed out a five-game victory that came down to the wire.
The Tigers won the match 15-6, 16-14, 9-15, 6-15, 15-9 to take over sole possession of first-place in the league. Douglas is 8-1 in league with five straight wins since losing at South Tahoe on Sept. 19.
Even though Carson dropped into second-place with its 8-2 record, coach Daryl James wasn't disappointed in the match.
"That was fun. That's what this is all about," James said. "Good game, two best teams in the league, let's go to town. Hey, they just got it tonight."
Douglas coach Kira Laden echoed that.
"It was a great match," she said. "This is the way it's supposed to go in a championship match."
Haas showed why she is regarded as one of Northern Nevada's top players with 21 kills and six blocks. The 6-foot-1 senior showed some variety at the end of the final game, including a block in the middle on Carson's Terri Niederer to give Douglas a 12-8 lead. Another Haas kill extended the lead to 13-9 and then she flicked the ball over a double team block to close out the match.
The block was big on a night when Niederer put down 19 kills, all on quick sets over the middle.
"She was frustrating me the whole night," Haas said of Niederer. "I couldn't block her; she's really hard to read. She's a very good player."
Then again, Haas knew that beating the Senators for the second time this season wouldn't be easy.
"We beat them before and I knew they'd come out really fired up this time. They played well," she said. "It was just a fun, awesome game. I wish we could have won it in three, but this will help us later on when we get to zone and state."
The Tigers weren't a one-player show, by any means. Cheryl Nicoll contributed 19 kills, Michelle Paterson had 15 kills and three blocks and Amee Christian put down 10 kills. Senior setter Brittany Addeo handed out 63 assists.
"We were talking about it with the girls about how the number of kills are real even and so are the number of sets they're getting in a game," Laden said. "It was great to have all four of them in there swinging away."
Rachael DeRiemer led the Senators with 25 kills and Shannon Devereaux contributed 13. Tabitha Adams was credited with 66 assists.
"Both teams had their ups and downs, but in the end, I thought it all came down to ball control," James said. "I don't think we passed the ball as well as we have during the year. But there was a lot of pressure on these kids tonight."
After leading virtually all the way in the opening game, the Tigers had to come from behind to win game two. Carson held leads of 10-6 and 13-10 before the Tigers came back. Nicoll served up back-to-back aces to tie the score at 13 and Haas blocked DeRiemer to put the Tigers on top, 15-14.
"A couple of little plays here and there decided it, 15-9 fifth game, with the rally (scoring). That's really a pretty close game." The Senators play again next Thursday at home against third-place South Tahoe. Douglas hosts Wooster next Tuesday.