Five-set matches and the Carson Senators volleyball team. So far it’s been a match made in heaven.
Carson improved to 4-0 in five-set matches with a thrilling 12-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-23 and 15-9 win over the Galena Grizzlies on Tuesday at Morse Burley Gym.
The Senators improved to 5-1 against Sierra League opponents and 8-4 overall in the Northern 4A. The win enabled Carson to sweep the season series against Galena. Both matches went five sets.
“I wish I knew the answer,” Carson coach Robert Maw when asked about the team’s five-set success. “I wish we didn’t go five sets. We do play well once we settle down.”
“We just all want to win,” said middle blocker Dajarrah Navarro. “We just dig down deep and want it more than anybody.”
Navarro played a pivotal role in the fifth set.
The Senators rolled to an 8-2 lead on the strength of a 5-0 run highlighted by Navarro’s back-to-back blocks.
“In the first couple of games I was watching the ball,” Navarro said. “After that I started watching the hitter’s shoulder. I tried to focus on that and predict where the ball was going.”
Galena did close to four points three times (11-7, 12-8 and 13-9), but Carson always seemed to be in control. A six-point deficit in a 15-point set is huge.
“I’ve seen teams come back (before) on the varsity level,” Maw said.
Navarro would add two more stuff blocks, the second one giving the Senators an 11-5 lead. Galena did get it to 13-9 before a deep corner kill by Shea DeJoseph helped finish the set and match.
Carson opened the match in ugly fashion, losing 25-12. The Senators never scored more than two straight points the entire set, while Galena had three 5-0 surges. Maw blamed the opening set on lack of passing off serve receive. It’s been a common theme in Carson losses.
“I have four people that can pass (well) from back there, and I usually takes a game to figure out which of them or which one is going to be on,” Maw said. “I’ve said that I don’t think anybody can stop us when we pass the ball well.”
Galena ended the first set on a 5-0 run, and four of the points came on Carson errors, either hitting or ballhandling.
The Grizzles had a 10-9 lead midway through the second set when Carson went on a 10-1 run to gain a 19-11 advantage.
DeJoseph had two kills in the surge, and Natalie Anderson served up four aces. The Senators were at set point at 24-18, but Galena rattled off four straight points to make it 25-22 as DeJoseph had two hitting errors, Faith Bennett served up an ace and Ryan Cirillo had a kill. DeJoseph pounded down a kill on the next serve to even the match.
Carson never led in the third set. The Senators did close to 22-19, but the Grizzlies scored the final three points to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Senators never trailed in the fourth set, bolting to a 9-2 lead on two aces by Abby Pradere and one by Anderson. Ku’ulei Haupu added a kill on a quick-set middle hit. Galena closed to 9-8 thanks to kills by Katie Schloss, Jessica Ferguson and Kelly Henley. It turned into a back-and-forth struggle. The set was tied at 14, 15, 19 and 22-all. A service error by Navarro gave Galena a 23-22 lead, but a quick set by Haupu and an error made it 24-23 before Anderson served up a change-up ace to tie the match.
That set the stage for the fifth set, and another quick start by Carson was too much to overcome.
“They couldn’t stop us in the middle,” Maw said. “We kept pounding the middle.”
Carson’s scheduled match on Thursday against Manogue has been moved to Oct. 23. The Senators leave for a tournament in San Diego on Thursday morning.