For two quarters on Tuesday, the Lady Wave volleyball team had powerhouse Truckee in the corner.
In boxing terms, each corner came out swinging, trying to unhinge the other. Several times Fallon had the Wolverines down for the count.
In volleyball terms, though, Truckee and Fallon, two of the top teams in the Northern 3A, did not want to suffer their first league loss of the year.
Fallon dropped to 1-1 in league, while Truckee remains perfect at 2-0.
After Truckee rolled to an easy 25-12 win in the first set, Fallon matched the visitor’s intensity, keeping stride for stride.
Fallon then controlled the second set, taking the lead at 2-1 and keeping it for a 25-19 victory. Likewise, Fallon jumped on the Wolverines and kept a three to four-point lead over Truckee until the Wolverines tied the set at 21 on a forced error committed by the Greenwave.
The set went back and forth until Truckee scored the final two points.
The momentum swung in the last 10 minutes.
“We had them ... we had them but those mental errors,” said Fallon coach Patty Daum. “Again we couldn’t finish, but the kids did a good job.”
Fallon showed some apprehension in the first set as Truckee’s sustained serving forced Fallon into making errors on return ball.
Hayli Steward and Jordan Brown provided the strength for Truckee with their service and between the two of them, put the Wolverines on top 11-5.
Both outside hitters Maria Dvoracek at 6-foot 1 and Madison Bromley at 5-10 gave Truckee some good height at the net. Left unchallenged several times, Bromley nailed several kills against the Wave.
While Truckee had a killer instinct to put the match away quickly, Fallon reversed the fortunes.
“I changed it up on the second set and told Whitney (Skabelund) to go outside to the middle, and she did a fantastic job,” Daum pointed out. “I had Haylee Paladini go from the right side and put some heat on Dvoracek.”
The plan worked.
Fallon pulled away to build a four-point lead on Paladini’s pinpoint kills and LeAnn Stands timely blocking in the middle. Combined with Paladini and Stands, the back row did a better job communicating and digging the ball out for a handful of spectacular rallies.
Fallon led 16-10 and made a second surge against Truckee, capped by an ace from Paladini, who was serving.
The offense had an all-around team effort for the remainder of the set with Kayla Buckmaster having several good returns including a push beyond Truckee’s back line and timely returns from Skabelund, who faked out the Truckee front line.
Buckmaster’s ace sealed the win, 25-19.
Paladini continued her good play in the third set, giving Fallon a 4-1 lead. Stands and Skabelund frustrated the Wolverines in the middle with a handful of blocks and crosscourt returns.
Daum said Stands was on fire.
“I was super excited, and I never wanted to beat a team as badly as Truckee,” Stands said. “I have matured a lot since the last year by taking this way more seriously. Last year, though, I had one more year, now it’s my senior year, and I take it more seriously.”
Fallon, though, began to make forced errors and saw its lead drop to 14-10 after a long serve sailed over Truckee’s back row.
Stands, though, kept Fallon ahead with several hard returns and two blocks. Setter Zoey Swisher kept feeding the ball for her offense, and Fallon responded well.
Truckee began its rally late in the set behind Stewart’s serving. Truckee tied the set and then went ahead 22-21 when a Fallon return rolled out of bounds.
The teams switched leads twice before Truckee had the final two points.
“We had them on the ropes, we had them, but we’ll have them next time too,” Stands said, referring to when Fallon travels to Truckee.
The fourth set went back and forth until Truckee outscored Fallon 5-0 to make the score 10-5.
Fallon made a valiant run and came within a point, 11-10 when Truckee returned the ball into the net.
Truckee brought the pressure in the front from Dvoracek and Bromley from the outside. Dvoracek finished the set with two consecutive kills.
Digs: Skabelund, 6; Buckmaster, 10; Paladini 12.
Kills: Skabelund 14; Paladini 9; Stands 8.
Blocks: Billips 6; Stands 12.