RENO — Dayton High’s season came to a thrilling end, as the Moapa Valley Pirates edged the Dust Devils, 25-15, 14-25, 17-25, 25-16 and 15-6 Friday at Damonte Ranch in the NIAA 3A state semifinals.
The Dust Devils finished 21-12. It was the team’s fourth state appearance with Monica Halverson as head coach, and the third time the team had lost in the semifinals.
“We had an awesome season,” Halverson said after the match. “The girls worked really hard. We had a lot of obstacles we had to overcome, and the girls stepped up. We have a lot of club players which is sometimes difficult (meshing in with girls who just play high school). It’s a different style.
“I think if we had played like we normally do, we would have won in three. We played hard. It was sad to see the season end.”
It was a strange match, as the teams took turns dominating each other. Dayton had a 2-1 lead, but Moapa won 25-16 and 15-6 for its come-from-behind win.
“It was really weird,” Halverson said. “They dominated the first set and we dominated the next two. We didn’t serve well in the first and fourth games, and that was a big reason we lost both of those.
“They got ahead 10-5 in the fifth and I called timeout. We were just really sluggish.”
Brianda Diaz had 12 kills and 19 digs, Kallie Strong finished with 32 assists and four digs, Ashley Mason had nine kills and eight digs, Makenna Olsen contributed nine kills, four digs and four blocks, and Hailey Wells had 19 digs for Dayton.
Douglas falls in 3
RENO — Balance has been a big part of the Bishop Gorman High volleyball team’s attack all season.
And that balance helped push the Gaels one step closer to a first-ever state title Friday night when they bested Douglas, 3-0, in opening round play of the 4A State Tournament at Damonte Ranch High.
Gorman (28-10) now advances to play in the tournament finals today at 2 p.m. at Damonte Ranch. The Gaels won by scores of 25-20, 26-24, 25-16.
Douglas ended its season with a 25-11 record.
Tommi Stockham put down 12 kills (unofficially) and Sydney Lobato handed out 19 assists and delivered two crucial late kills to help the Gaels rally back to win a back-and-forth second set.
“This is a balanced team,” Gorman coach Ed Van Meetren said. “We can attack from anywhere on the court and with different hitters.”
Douglas was on the brink of winning that second set with leads of 23-21 and 24-22, only to see Gorman rally back to win thanks to four straight kills from the left side. Lobato had two of those kills, while Hanna Karl and Stockham had the other two.
The score was tied 11 times during the set and the lead changed hands four times.
“We practice coming from behind every day,” Van Meetren said. “We were down to Shadow Ridge 11-7 and 14-11 (in the Sunset Region final last Saturday) and came back to win, so the girls are confident in that situation.”
He went on to point out Stockham is just 14 years old and Karl is 15. “They’re the real deal; they play like seasoned veterans,” Van Meetren said of the two freshmen.
Douglas played tough in the opening set and was within 10-8, 17-16 and 19-17. Gorman led 17-12 and had a run going when the Tigers received a big play from libero Raychel Allen, whose diving dig on a tip to open space in the middle kept the ball alive. Moments later, the Gaels hit the ball wide and the Tigers had a key point.
“I feel that’s the strongest we’ve started as a team,” said Allen, who had five digs in the first set and 19 overall for the match. “We did give ourselves a fighting chance. We just seemed to lose some energy at the end.”
Gorman surged to a 7-1 lead at the outset of the third set. The Tigers rallied back to within 17-13, however, they never managed to pull any closer. Isabelle Peterson finished with 10 kills (unofficially) for Douglas, while Talyn Jackson had 20 assists.
“They have talent, but we had the ability to win,” said Jackson, a junior who’s graduating a year early to pursue a volleyball offer from Virginia Tech. “It (losing) was disappointing. We definitely wanted to win state. But it was exciting to be here for the second time in three years.”