FALLON — Truckee volleyball coach Erika Murphy turned around after her team’s fourth-set win, grinned and flashed thumbs up to the Wolverines’ fans.
Her prediction, however, fell short.
Lowry, the No. 2 seeded team in the NIAA 3A Northern Regional Volleyball Tournament, relied on its play at the net and outside hitting to take Saturday’s fifth and final set against the No. 1 seeded team, 15-4, at Fallon’s Elmo Dericco Gymnasium. The Lady Bucks won the first two sets before Truckee tied the championship match by dominating the next two games.
Murphy was disappointed yet upbeat.
“We had our ups and downs and swings and it happens during the matches,” said the veteran Truckee coach. “But I still think state will be interesting, and we’ll play Boulder City first.”
Truckee, the defending state 3A champs, will play the Southern 3A’s No. 1 Eagles Friday at 5:40 p.m. Lowry faces No. 2 Moapa Valley in the other match at 7:30 p.m. Both matches are being played at Faith Lutheran High School.
Going into the weekend tournament, Murphy said any of the six teams playing in Fallon had a chance of advancing to state, but when the final match began, it soon became a classic battle between the top two teams in the Northern 3A. Truckee advanced to the finals with a three-set sweep against Elko, and Lowry defeated Fernley, also in three sets, to set up the title match.
“Our girls played well together, stepped up and played when they had to,” Murphy said.
Lowry coach Brandon Eastman agreed, noting the Lady Bucks and Truckee split their season games with each team winning at home.
“It’s been a goal all year,” he said of Lowry’s league championship. “First our goal was to win the regular season, and there was a three-way tie for first, and we were the No. 2 seed and got a bye. We knew today would be tough; we knew the weapons they had. Truckee’s a tough team.”
After Truckee tied the match 25-16 in the fourth set, momentum appeared to be shifting Truckee’s way. The Wolverines also won the third set, 25-20. The chance to win the final set didn’t happen, though, as Lowry won by 11 points.
Three forced errors from Truckee allowed Lowry to take a 3-0 lead before the Wolverines scored on Ryleigh Hogland’s kill. Lowry responded with a kill from Julianne Montero, a kill from teammate Alyssa Kuskie and a return from Montero that fell on the court before the second row.
After that, Lowry surged ahead on a 9-2 run to win its first league championship in 11 seasons. Outside hitter Kyllie Sappington, who dominated the outside positon during the first two sets, recorded a pair of kills for Lowry, and the Lady Bucks scored the final points.
Eastman said the match was intense from the first set.
“We executed extremely well and didn’t make too many errors,” he said.
Both teams played hard in the first set, especially during the final five points when the lead changed twice before Lowry won the game 27-25.
Hogland powered Truckee to a 6-3 advantage before Lowry came back and took the lead on two Truckee errors. Sappington had a kill that fell inside the back line for Lowry, while Madison Bromley added a kill for the Wolverines. After falling behind by as many as four points, Truckee tied the set at 22 on a Bromley kill and then took the lead on a Lowry mistake.
The score was tied two more times before Lowry tallied the final two points for a win.
Truckee fell behind in the second set and never led.
Lowry had a 5-0 lead when Truckee scored its first point on a Lady Buck’s error.
Sappington continued her dominance from the outside with a kill and two successful returns. Truckee, though, sliced the lead to 13-12 on Hogland’s kill from the right side, and then had another kill to tie the set at 16.
Lowry pulled away thanks in part to a pair of aces from server Tailor West and three Truckee errors resulting in the final three points from the No. 2 seed.
After falling behind the third set, Truckee tied Lowry 5-5 and then grabbed a lead it would never relinquish. The Wolverines outplayed Lowry at the net with Kelly Cross, Emma Costa and Hogland, while Bromley added five kills.
Truckee led by as many as eight points before Lowry closed the gap to 19-16. Cross had a kill and Anika Penrose served a pair of aces to keep Truckee from losing its lead. A long Lowry return resulted in Truckee picking up the 25th point.
Truckee had to rally in the fourth set, falling behind for the first half of play.
Hogland had three kills, while Lowry relied on block shots Jayden Eastman. After the last tie at 14 when Kepa Bengochea served an ace, Truckee pulled away to outscore the Buckaroos 11-2. Bromley’s serving resulted in seven points for Truckee, and the team’s dominance at the net from Cross and Hogland gave the Wolverines the advantage.
Hogland had a pair of nice returns, one a winding windmill return and the other a kill that rolled off the net and fell just inside the line. Cross ended the set when she nailed a kill at the net.
Truckee 3, Elko 0 — Truckee swept Elko in three sets on Saturday to advance to the championship round of the NIAA 3A North Regional Volleyball Tournament at Fallon’s Elmo Dericco Gymnasium.
Elko, which had to go the distance on Friday to defeat South Tahoe in five sets, battled the Wolverines, but Truckee prevailed 25-20, 25-15 and 25-20.