Senators beat Douglas for first time in 10+ years

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

MINDEN - It has been 10 years since the Carson volleyball team has beaten its archrival.

Ten years. At least. A string of more than 23 losses to the Douglas Tigers. It'd been so long, no one really has the exact date of the last Senator victory in the series.

That all changed Thursday night.

Carson fought its way through three hotly-contested sets with Douglas in the Tigers' home gym and emerged with a 25-22, 25-23, 32-30 sweep to end a decade's worth of frustration.

"It's a big deal," Carson coach Robert Maw said. "Douglas has been a monkey on our back for a long time. The girls have been working for it."

The frustration reached its pitch during last year's regional semifinals, when Carson had Douglas down several game points to open the match and Douglas came back to take the game and sweep the match, ending the Senator's season.

"That was a moment where it was like 'Here comes Carson,' and then Douglas stepped up and sweeps us," Maw said. "It became almost a mental block. The thinking that Douglas always beats Carson. Almost a given.

"They girls said 'No more,' tonight. We've always had the girls with skills, but it's about mentally fighting through."

The Tigers certainly didn't make it easy. After trailing only briefly in the first game, Carson fell back 11-5 in the second as Douglas appeared to find a rhythm.

Maw called a timeout to regroup his squad and the Senators came back with a 6-2 run, cutting the score to 13-11.

Douglas maintained its lead, though, working it all the way to 21-17.

A Tiger serving error, followed by another error got Carson back into the game.

"The errors killed us tonight," Douglas coach Suzi Townsell said. "You have to give credit to Carson, but we did a lot to beat ourselves. We need to be working on taking errors like that away."

With Douglas still leading 21-19, McKenzie Price set up Christa McGahuey for a kill and McGahuey registered a block on the next series to tie it up.

An errant shot from Douglas put Carson up 22-21 and the Senators pushed ahead to take the game from there.

There were eight lead changes in the third game and an impressive eight game points before Courtney Hack set up Sarah Lushina for a kill to seal the win.

"Douglas fought us hard the whole way through," Maw said. "They're so strong every year and they had us down in the second game. They didn't want to let us have it.

"We came through though. I had these girls in middle school four years ago and even when I was coaching then, I knew we'd have a chance to do some big things with this group."

Price and Hack each dished out 14 assists for the Senators while McGahuey had 10 kills and four blocks.

Micaela Vonwinkel had eight kills and Lushina added seven.

The front blocking line as a whole stood out throughout the match.

"In the first match of the season against Reno, we had a really hard time blocking," Maw said. "We made some corrections in practice and have really been focusing on our blocking. We shut down the block against Damonte, and it was phenomenal against Reed,

"They're figuring out it really is our first line of defense."

Heidi Schefcik led the Tigers with six kills and Ariah Barth and Amanda Wartgow each added five.

"We won't go back to the drawing board, but we have to reload," Townsell said. "We're so young as a team, we're still trying to get them to understand the level of commitment it takes to be at the varsity level.

"I'm happy for Carson, it's been a long time for them. We still get to play them again and we're not giving up."

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