VOLLEYBALL: Carson grabs first league win

After two straight losses to open the Northern 4A volleyball season, Carson High was due for a victory.

The Senators, behind nice front line play from Sarah Lushina (6 kills), Christa McGahuey (8 kills) and McKenzie Price (9 kills) swept Damonte Ranch 25-18, 25-21 and 25-17 Tuesday night at Morse Burley Gym.

"It feels good to win (a league match)," Carson coach Robert Maw said. "We won a couple in Vegas. It's a first step.

"I was happy to see our middles hitting the ball, but this wasn't the same team I saw against Reed. We're trying to avoid rollercoaster play. We talked about coming out strong and fast, but our ultimate goal was to win. It was great to get the win."

Maw expected to beat the young Mustangs, who lost eight seniors to graduation. Minutes after the win he was already focused on Thursday's match against Douglas, a team Carson hasn't beaten in 13 years.

"We've won some games, but never a match," Maw said. "It has come up in conversation already. There is some pressure."

This would seem to be the year Carson finally breaks through. The Tigers were hit hard by graduation, and the Senators had eight players back from last year.

In the first two games, Damonte led by scores of 6-2 and 8-4.

With the score tied at 15, Carson ripped off five straight points for a 20-15 advantage. Price and Micaela Vonwinkel had kills in the surge, but the Mustangs helped by hitting long on three spike attempts.

Carson scored five of the next eight points to put the first game away as Price, Lushina and Alyson Christl had kills down the stretch.

Damonte went on a 7-0 run for a quick 8-4 lead in Game 2, as Carson hit four balls out. Jessie Whitney had a kill and Ali Rosa had an ace to spark the Mustangs .

The Mustangs maintained their lead until late in the game when McGahuey scored on a quick set and then Damonte mishandled the ball, tying the game at 20. Carson scored five of the next six points to win. Kristalei Wolfe tied the match at 21 and Kammy Forrest gave Carson a 22-21 lead when she hammered down a spike when a Damonte pass went over the net. Tiana McAllister and Price knocked down kills to give the Senators a 2-0 lead.

In Game 3, Carson finally got off to the quick start Maw was hoping for, bolting to an 8-3 thanks to two more Kills by Price plus an ace and a kill by Laura Mohlenkamp, who saw some extended playing time in the front row.

"We have some depth on the left side," Maw said. "Laura played well up front."

Damonte struggled to stay in the match, but never got closer than three points the rest of the way. A 7-1 run by Carson ended the match with McGahuey hammering down the match point in the middle of the Mustangs' defense.

"We're really young," said Damonte coach Dani Wallace, whose team dropped to 1-2. "We graduated eight seniors last year. I've seen a lot of improvement. We didn't receive their serves well, and if you can't pass you can't hit. Carson did a good job of opening up holes with their quick-set offense."

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