Carson High’s league-opening victory was bittersweet with an emphasis on the bitter.
Co-captain Gaby Palazzolo, who sat out last year after injuring her left knee in club volleyball, appears to be out for the season with what appears to be a torn anterior cruciate ligament to her left knee.
Palazzolo suffered the injury in the waning moments of Carson’s 25-9, 25-23 and 26-24 win over the Reno Huskies Tuesday night at Morse Burley Gym.
The win upped Carson’s overall record to 7-1 entering Thursday night’s home match against Reed.
With the score tied at 24 in the third game, Palazzolo went up for a hit and when she came down her knee buckled, according to CHS trainer Adam Hunsaker. The rally was stopped almost immediately, and Palazzolo was on the floor for several minutes before being helped to her feet. She left after the match with her knee wrapped in ice.
Both coach Robert Maw and outside hitter Juliana Anderson were disappointed for Palazzolo.
“She worked so hard (to get back), and she was doing so well,” Maw said.
“It (the injury) definitely puts a damper on the win,” Anderson said. “She was one of our captains and a valuable player.”
Maw said the injury is going to force him to shuffle the line-up around a bit, but he feels he has enough depth up front to overcome Palazzolo’s absence.
It was a strange match. Carson dominated the opening game, but had to fight for its life in the second and third games.
“I think we came out strong and played like I know we can play,” Anderson said. “I feel like we let up the last two games. This team has been together for two years, and we should know how to play through things. We did it in Las Vegas (at a recent tournament).”
“We beat them pretty handily that first game, but I don’t think we were ready for them to put up a fight like they did the last two games.”
Carson rolled to a quick 5-0 lead on kills by Maddie Jergesen, Juliana Anderson and a downball kill by setter Natalie Anderson. Led by Parker Buddy, the Huskies clawed back before Carson went on a 10-0 run to grab a 19-6 lead.
Jaycie Roberts served up three aces in that span and Palazzolo had two kills.
The lead stayed at 13 until Natalie Anderson and Roberts delivered kills and Juliana Anderson served up an ace to end the opening game.
“We served the ball well the first game,” Maw said. “They had some problems with it.”
More often than not, the Huskies resorted to hitting downballs because either the serve receive or passing, and sometimes both, were off.
What made the game strange is Roberts didn’t have an offensive kill until the 24th point of the match, and was more effective digging and serving the ball. Jergesen had just a kill and block in the first set. Palazzolo had three kills.
The second game featured 11 ties and the teams were never separated by more than four points the entire way.
Carson led 22-20, but a service error by Kylie Riske and a kill by freshman Kaitlyn Biassou helped the Huskies grab a 23-22 lead. A Palazzolo kill tied the match at 23, and Natalie Anderson ended it with two straight aces. Both Roberts and Juliana Anderson contributed four aces.
Reno used a 5-0 run and 6-0 run to build a 15-7 lead in the third game. Carson stormed back, scoring 11 of the next 12 points for an 18-16 lead. Riske served up two aces and Roberts had two critical kills, the last giving Carson an 18-16 lead. The Huskies scored six of the next eight for a 22-20 advantage as Biassou had two kills and Buddy served up two aces.
A kill by Jergesen and a hitting error enabled Carson to tie the game at 22. Buddy pounded a winner off the net to make it 23-22, but Roberts answered back with a kill, tying it at 23. A Reno error put Carson on the verge of closing it out, but Palazzolo’s spike was off the mark to make it 24-all.
The injury happened moments later, and when play resumed, Carson scored two straight points to finish off the sweep.
The offense, after the first game, appeared disjointed at times.
“We played a modified version of what we’re doing this year,” said the elder Anderson.
“Coach Maw has turned it up a notch. We need to be more consistent.”