Dayton solidified its standing Thursday for a Northern 3A volleyball playoff spot this weekend by sweeping Fallon in three sets at the Elmo Dericco Gymnasium.
Dayton easily won the first two sets by identical 25-17 scores, but the Dust Devils, who traded the lead numerous times in the third set, rallied late for a 25-22 win to improve its record to 9-6 league and 12-9 overall.
Dayton coach Jordan King said the team’s focus, especially in the third set, enabled the Dust Devils to defeat the Lady Wave on their home court.
“Knowing the playoffs are next week, we wanted to end the season with a win,” King said after holding a short post-match meeting with her players. “We should get all of our players back for the playoffs.”
Dayton makes a return trip to the Lahontan Valley this week when Fallon hosts the two-day NIAA 3A Northern Region girls volleyball tournament. King said it appears Dayton will be the sixth-seeded team.
Fallon senior Macie Anderson was one of five seniors playing in her last high-school volleyball match.
“It’s been really fun, but it’s been rough in the way we can’t win. It’s not like we can’t play,” she said. “I really had the opportunity to play with my class and these girls. I wouldn’t trade this team.”
Overall, Fallon coach Patty Daum said she was pleased with the team’s determination.
“It’s not the way we wanted to have the year end,” said Daum, after losing to Dayton for the second time this season. “The girls never gave up, and I can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Fallon played Dayton tough for most of the first set on Senior Night before the Dust Devils pulled away from a 14-12 lead to outscore Fallon 11-5 down the stretch.
Fallon, which missed out in playing at this weekend’s tournament, finished 6-17 overall and 4-12 in league.
Fallon received a lift when senior Faith Cornmesser, who was sidelined for the entire season because of a shoulder surgery, started and served an ace for the game’s first point.
“Faith was awesome to come in tonight and seeing her serve was awesome,” Anderson said. “She’s been there for us on the bench cheering for us.”
In the first set against Fallon, Dayton’s Brianda Diaz recorded three kills including a nice cross-court shot that hit the floor untouched. Rebecca Mason, one of three Dayton seniors, jammed the middle and outdueled Fallon’s Jordan Beyer and Anderson. Outside hitter Ashley Mason had a kill for Dayton’s 23rd point, and she also outblocked Anderson for game point.
Fallon jumped on Dayton for a quick 4-1 lead in the second set before the Dust Devils rolled behind the serving of Stephanie Kiernan and Diaz’s play at the net. Combined with Ashley Mason, both players complemented each other at the net with two kills each. Fallon’s forced errors enabled Dayton to pad its lead and then take the set on Rebecca Mason’s kill that skirted inside the right line.
“(Rebecca) Mason does a good job,” King said. “She’s a senior and she stepped up.”
The Wave improved their play in the third set as both teams battled for the lead. The score was tied 14 times, and Dayton led by as many as five points on two occasions. Both teams fell victim to their forced errors, especially midway through the set when the Wave made three long returns that dropped past the back line. Quietly, though, the Wave sliced the lead to 17-16 on Shelbi Schultz’s kill, and tied the set when a Dayton kill hit beyond the line.
Fallon took the lead twice, 19-18 on Anderson’s kill, and three points later on Dayton’s long return. Diaz broke a 22-22 tie with a return Fallon couldn’t handle, and then Luisa Flores stunned Fallon with an ace. On game point, Fallon returned the ball out of bounds to give Dayton a 3-0 sweep.
“The third set was one of their best sets,” Daum said of her players. “They wanted more but couldn’t pull it off.”
Daum said Anderson and Beyer each played well as did Gracy Lisanti, another senior.
Diaz led Dayton with 12 kills and added 8 assists. Ashley Mason finished the match with 7 kills, while Kiernan added 6 and Rebecca Mason had 4. Ashley Mason also paced the Dust Devils with 2 blocks, while Hailey Glynn, a freshman, hustled for 17 digs and Kiernan tallied 16.