MINDEN — Never mind the final score. As far as the Fallon volleyball team was concerned, its season-opening 3-0 defeat Tuesday night against Douglas was simply another step in preparation for a highly challenging conference season.
Douglas (5-3), the defending Northern Division I Region Tournament champion, won swept Fallon 25-11, 25-17, 25-21. The Tigers rallied back to win the final game after trailing by scores of 18-13 and 20-15.
“The outcome wasn’t what we hoped for, but with each set, we controlled the game better and better,” Lady Wave coach Patty Daum said. “That’s a good Douglas team, and that’s what we look for when we schedule these non-conference teams. I want them to be tough to help us get ready for conference.”
For Douglas, which won four of seven matches last weekend during the Las Vegas Invitational, sophomore setter Talyn Jackson turned in a strong all-around performance with 20 assists, eight kills, nine digs and two aces for the Tigers.
Whitney Skabelund provided a spark that helped Fallon start strong in the third set. The junior delivered a kill to give the Lady Wave a 4-1 lead and an ace made it 8-5. Later, Skabelund set Kayla Buckmaster in the middle to make it 10-8 and then put down a hit over the middle to extend the lead to 15-11. Megan McCormick also had an ace during that stretch.
With Taylor Amezquita sitting out due to an injury, Zoey Swisher and Skabelund shared the setting duties.
“They did everything we asked of them; they did a good job of setting our hitters, we just weren’t able to capitalize often enough,” Daum said.
Douglas scored six unanswered points in the third set — sophomore Alex Demaranville delivered two aces during the run — and Johnnie Saletti put down a kill to tie the score at 20-all.
Isabelle Peterson put down a quick middle set from Jackson to extend the Tigers’ lead to 23-21. The Lady Wave finished with two hitting errors to close out the set and match.
“We just had some unforced errors at the end that cost us,” Daum said. “But that’s something we can learn from and work on as we get ready for conference.”
Senior libero Kyla Kincaid also provided a spark for the Lady Wave in the second set with four saves that kept rallies going. The score was tied six times, the last coming at 9-all, before the Tigers took control.
The Lady Wave continue a their schedule today and Saturday at the high-powered High Sierra Invitational, hosted by Galena High School in Reno. Next week, they open Northern DI-A play with matches on Thursday at home against Lowry and Friday at Truckee. Lowry and Truckee finished second and third respectively in the conference in 2014.