RENO — The Northern Division I volleyball season hasn’t even reached the halfway mark, but Tuesday’s Carson-Damonte Ranch match-up had the intensity and drama of a post-season match.
Carson stretched its winning streak to five straight with a 33-31, 25-17, 20-25 and 25-16 road win over Damonte. With the win, Carson improved to 6-1 heading into Thursday’s home match against Wooster.
“I knew it would be a tough match,” Carson coach Robert Maw said. “When they were warming up we could tell they were a good team. We showed a lot of heart tonight.”
Carson got strong play at the net from Juliana Anderson (21 kills, 4 digs), Jaycie Roberts (17 kills, 17 digs, 1.5 blocks) and Maddie Jergensen (6 kills, 5 blocks), and the Senators got strong floor play from Makenzie Tucker (12 digs), Natalie Anderson (42 assists, 3 kills) and Sarah Christl (5 digs).
“Juliana was great tonight,” Maw said. “She tied her record for kills in a match, and I’d say that was her best match of the season and maybe the best she’s played at Carson. Jaycie had a great floor game. She picked up a lot of balls tonight. With Jaycie quick hitting and Juliana getting the high sets it makes it difficult for opposing defenses. Tucker did a nice job serving the ball tonight, and she gave us a lot of energy.”
The opening set was one for the ages. The game was tied 10 different times — 1,19,24,25,26,27,28,29, 30 and 31 — before Carson snapped the deadlock and won the set on kills by Juliana Anderson and Roberts. Carson’s biggest lead was four points (23-19) and Damonte squandered a six-point lead (16-10).
Roberts was amazing all night, but especially in the opening set. She had nine kills and just two errors.
Three of her kills in the first set sparked an 8-0 run. She was automatic, and the Mustangs were defenseless against her in that first set. With Damonte leading 29-28, she hammered back-to-back kills to give the Senators a 30-29 lead. Damonte went ahead 31-30 on kills by Lanae Burkhart and Madyson Taylor, setting the stage for heroics by Juliana Anderson and Roberts.
According to Juliana Anderson, this wasn’t the first time Carson and Damonte had played a marathon match.
“Last year when we played Damonte we had a 32-30 game and we lost,” Juliana Anderson said. “That came back to me and we couldn’t lose that way again.
“Everything just flowed. Our defense as a whole played great. You can’t do what I did unless the girls are getting balls up and the sets are there. This was my best game this season for sure.”
The second set had the typical ebbs and flows you see in rally scoring.
Damonte took an early 7-1 lead, but Carson scored 15 of the next 17 points for a 16-9 lead, and several Carson players contributed to the surge.
Jergensen had a solo block and two kills, Juliana Anderson had three more kills, Roberts had a kill, and Tucker and Natalie Anderson each served up an ace.
Two ace serves by Morgan Waller led a 5-1 run which cut Carson’s lead to 18-15. The Senators responded by scoring seven of the next nine points to go up 2-0. Juliana Anderson had two more kills, Kylie Riske had a kill and Tucker served up an ace off the net.
The third set had 10 ties before Damonte went on a game-ending 6-1 run to win 25-20. Juliana Anderson had Carson’s only point in that stretch with a kill to make it 21-20. A service error and a net violation gave the Mustangs two free points down the stretch.
Carson led throughout much of the fourth set. Carson went on a late 10-3 run thanks to back-to-back aces by Tucker, three Damonte hitting errors and a kill by Roberts for a 23-16 lead. Juliana Anderson capped her great night with back-to-back kills to end it.