Even though Carson High dropped the first two sets to Damonte Ranch on Thursday, coach Robert Maw had confidence his team could bounce back.
“I thought if we could fix our passing (we could come back),” Maw said. “I thought we could overpower them at the net. I could see that from the first set.
“We changed the lineup and played Cheyanne Prado-Holland a full rotation, and she’s only 5-2. I knew we were giving up a lot of hitting power by doing that, but we had to fix our passing.
“I thought this would go five games.”
Between Prado’s all-around court play, and the hitting of Shea DeJoseph (19 kills) and Stefanie Schmidt (13 kills), the Senators grabbed a 3-2 win (18-25, 15-25, 25-23, 25-17 and 15-10) over the Mustangs at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
The victory moved Carson to 3-1 in Sierra League play and a 6-4 record against Northern 4A teams.
Sometimes one play or action can motivate a team to do great things.
On Thursday, it was the ejection of Carson High assistant coach Brandon Roberts, who received a red card at the tail end of the third set for arguing a call.
Carson, trailing 2-1 in the match, led 23-21 when the officials called a ballhandling error on the Senators. Carson coaches showed their displeasure, and the ensuing red card cost CHS another point, tying the set at 23.
Maw said the officials didn’t call the error on the third touch like the CHS coaches thought. It was actually on the second touch. Had that been explained at the time of the infraction, Roberts would have been on the bench for the big comeback.
After order was restored, a kill by DeJoseph and an error by Damonte’s Allie Pickett gave the Senators the set, avoiding a three-game sweep.
DeJoseph carried a big load in the third set, registering seven kills with just one error.
“We weren’t losing three in a row again,” DeJoseph said. “If he (Roberts) is going to fight for us, we’re going to fight for him.”
“We were motivated by that,” Schmidt said. “We were playing for him.”
Damonte started fast in the fourth set, scoring seven of the first 11 points. Allie Pickett had two kills and an ace, and Alyssa Zurro had a stuff block.
Carson showed it wasn’t going to throw in the towel and go away. The Senators scored 12 of the next 14 points to take a 16-9 lead. Damonte never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
It was DeJoseph and Schmidt doing the bulk of the damage up front. Schmidt had seven kills and DeJoseph five. Setter Natalie Anderson contributed two ace serves in the barrage.
Anderson did a good job of recognizing the hot hitters, and getting the sets in their direction.
“I think our passing picked up,” Schmidt said. “Once our passing got going, we played better. Natalie got the ball to us (both).”
“Natalie realized that (we were swinging well),” DeJoseph said.
Damonte got off to a 7-4 lead in the deciding set, but Carson roared back thanks to the serving of Prado-Holland, the heady play of Anderson, the blocking of Dajarrah Navarro and the hitting of DeJoseph.
Navarro scored on a spike and stuff block to trim the deficit to 7-6. Prado-Holland tied the set with an ace, and DeJoseph put Carson ahead to stay with another kill. Damonte was guilty of a double hit to fall behind 9-7. DeJoseph put away another ball, and then Anderson scored on back-to-back dinks to make it 12-7. A Damonte error completed a 9-0 run and gave CHS a 13-7 edge.
A stuff block by Cayton White and two straight hitting errors enabled Damonte to close to 13-10. Carson closed it out with two straight points, including another kill by DeJoseph.
“I told the girls that tonight’s match would come down to whoever passed the best, and I thought we did well the last three sets,” Maw said.