Bishop Manogue entered Thursday’s showdown having lost just one game in nine previous matches against northern Nevada opponents.
And then along came Carson High.
The Senators stunned the favored Miners 16-25, 25-21, 25-20, 23-25 and 18-16 Thursday night in a volleyball classic at Morse Burley Gymnasium to move into a first-place tie in the Sierra League standings with a 9-1 record.
It was a huge victory for many reasons, and it showed Carson has the ability to compete with the upper echelon teams in the area.
“It’s the biggest win in my four years here,” coach Robert Maw said. “We had never beaten them before. We hadn’t even taken a set off them.
“It separates us from Douglas and other teams. We want to finish first or second in league and get that home playoff game. This win gives us a better chance.”
The Senators got big hitting games from Jaycie Roberts (19 kills), Juliana Anderson (17 kills) and Maddie Jergensen (10 kills, 7 blocks).
A key to the match might have come in the fourth set, according to Maw. Carson was trying to close out the match, but was unable to do so.
Manogue scored 11 of the game’s first 13 points, and led 23-17 when Carson clawed back behind the play of Anderson, Roberts, Kylie Riske and Jergensen.
Consecutive hitting errors by Manogue enabled Carson to trim the Miners’ lead to 23-19. Two kills by Anderson and one by Jergensen made it 23-22. Natalie Anderson was called for a net violation to make it 24-22, but the Senators stayed alive, 23-24, on another Juliana Anderson kill. Julia Wenzel closed out the game with a kill.
Maw felt that despite the loss the Senators had regained momentum that it had lost when the Miners bolted to the early lead.
“I talked to the girls about momentum,” Maw said. “Volleyball is a game of momentum. We knew they were going to make runs on us, we just had to be able to stop them as quickly as possible. The way we came back and didn’t quit set us up for that fifth game.”
And, that was a dandy like the second, third and fourth games.
Carson bolted to a 3-0 lead, Manogue scored the next five points and the Senators scored five of the next eight to knot the set at 8 apiece.
Jergensen scored on a quick set, and then Riske served up two straight aces. An error by Wenzel and a shared block by Natalie Anderson and Jergensen made it 13-8. Two kills by Wenzel and a shared block by Becca Smith and Sara Pool sparked a 4-0 run and tied the match at 14. With the score tied at 15, Manogue was called for a lift to give the Senators a 16-15 lead. A kill by Katelyn Oppio tied the match at 16, but Smith served long and Alessandra Reviglio missed to give the Senators the game and match.
“We actually thought they hadn’t lost any sets in league this year,” said Roberts. “There was a lot of pressure, and we knew we had to fight through things and stay strong.”
The night didn’t get off to a great start for the Senators, who never recovered from an early 8-3 deficit.
The closest Carson would get was 15-11 and 16-12 after the Miners’ early onslaught.
Oppio had four kills in the game. She proved to be a handful most of the night whether she was knocking down quick sets or hitting high sets on the outside.
“We had some early jitters,” Roberts said. “We were able to play through them.”
“They knew that we liked to go to Jaycie and Juliana, and they forced us to attack differently. After the first game, I told Natalie to set high and outside. We needed the middles to attack so we could get 1 on 1. They weren’t going to stop Jaycie or Juliana with just one blocker.”
Carson took the second and third sets, but it wasn’t easy.
Carson had an early 10-6 lead, but the Miners scored nine of the next 11 for a 15-12 lead thanks to three kills by Wenzel.
Carson roared back with an 8-3 run for a 20-18 lead, as Roberts had two critical kills. Manogue tied the match at 20, but Juliana Anderson had three kills to help Carson close out the game.
The third set was a back and forth affair. Carson led by seven early only to see the Wenzel-led Miners close to 20-19.
Kills by the Anderson sisters, Jergensen and Roberts plus an ace by Riske ended the game.
That set the stage for an exciting finish.