FALLON — After upsetting Fallon in five sets in the semifinals at the Northern 3A Regional Volleyball Tournament, Dayton sized up league-leading Truckee in Saturday’s championship round for another upset.
Dayton (18-12, 11-5) rolled to a first-set win over undefeated league champs Truckee (25-6, 16-0), 25-21, before the Wolverines settled down and swept the next three sets from the hungry Dust Devils at Fallon’s Elmo Dericco Gym, 25-19, 25-22 and 25-20. Both teams advance to next weekend’s state tournament at Damonte Ranch High School in Reno.
Dayton defeated Fallon in five sets, while the Wolverines easily vanquished Lowry, also in four sets.
Although Dayton lost to Truckee for the third time this season, coach Monica Halverson remains optimistic her team can defeat Truckee if they should meet in the state championship game.
“This give us another opportunity to beat them,” she said. We have unfinished business … and we did take them down three years ago, and we can do it again. My team did not give up they fought they were consistent. We got rid of the Dayton choke.”
Halverson said she feels her players are focused going into the state championship and know what they need to do to be ready for the first-round match.
The lead changed hands five times in the first set before Dayton broke a 17-17 tie and doubled up Truckee 8-4 for the win. Dayton relied on a balance attack down the stretch with Kassie Strong accounting for four kills and a block.
The Wolverines used their lethal weapon, 6-foot Maia Dvoracek, to jump out in front. Along with Ryleigh Hogland, the Truckee tandem combined for four kills and showed well disciplined adroitness at the net.
Yet, it was Dayton server Hailey Wells whose three points allowed Dayton to tie the set midway through play and then capped off her performance by recording the final two points.
Dayton also showed strength at the net behind the blocking of Makenna Olsen, Kallie Strong and Rebecca Mason, while the back row hustled after Truckee’s returns.
Olsen said she played her best volleyball of the season against Fallon and Truckee.
“I had well placed kills,” she said before Dayton headed home after the match. “I wanted to make sure I left it on the court this time I wanted it all and wanted us to go to state.”
Olsen continually faced Dvoracek, last year’s league MVP and all-state player, during the match, many times each senior staring at each other across the net. Each player drew the best out of each other.
“She is amazing,” Olsen said of her rival, who’s a D-1 college prospect.
Halvorsen said she also respects Dvoracek and how she plays the game.
Dayton, though, woke up a sleeping giant after the first-set win.
Truckee jumped on the designated visiting team for a quick 6-0 lead in the second set. Dvoracek and Madison Bromley each had sizzling kills against the Dust Devils, while Shelby Gendreau kept Dayton off guard with five service points until Wells had a kill of her own for Dayton’s first point.
Truckee maintained a lead between five and six points for the rest of the set, relying on Hayli Stewart for the final two points.
Dvoracek and Bromley ignited the Truckee in the third set. Dvoracek opened the game with an ace Dayton couldn’t reach, and Gendreu and Bromley combined for six service points including three aces to push Truckee to an 8-1 lead.
Once Dayton had a chance to serve, Brianda Diaz wracked up five points and record three consecutive aces.
Dvoracek said Dayton played hard.
Although she said Fallon has been more of a traditional rival, she said her teammates felt they had a better chance to win the title against Dayton.
“Fallon has very good players and hitters,” Dvoracek said.
Yet, the scrappy Dust Devils didn’t roll over and quit against the more experienced Greenwave or Wolverines.
Slowly, Dayton chipped away at the lead as Wells accounted for three points including an ace as Dayton tied the score at 13 and then four more times. On another rotation to serve, Wells had two more aces.
The teams were last tied at 18.
Truckee began to pull away on a Dvoracek kill and four Dayton errors. Dvoracek also gave Truckee a lift from the serving line with three points. Kelly Cross’ kill, which was blocked out of bounds, gave Truckee the third-set win.
Playing its second match within four hours, the Dust Devils felt fatigue setting in during the fourth set. Although Dayton had some stellar plays at the net from Olsen, Bromley found a way to avoid Olsen and slam her kills between the first and second rows and down the sideline. Meanwhile, Dvoracek took control with four kills of her own,
Dayton, though, kept pecking away at the lead and came within 23-20 on Diaz’s one-handed return along the net.
Bromley, though responded with a kill that bounded off Grace Wells for the 24th point, and Dvoracek reared back on set point and drilled a kill as her exclamation point to give Truckee the regional volleyball win.
“It was super fun to play them,” Dvoracek said. “They hadn’t really challenged us to play during the year.”
That is until Saturday afternoon in Fallon.
Truckee coach Erika Murphy said Dayton has been coming along as a formidable opponent during the season.
“Truckee lost a set to Dayton, Lowry lost a set to them and Fallon,” she said. “They have been stepping up. They played tremendously.”