Douglas High’s Hailey Hughes would set the tone for this chess match of a roller coaster ride, back-and-forth rivalry contest.
She fittingly scored the first point on the match on a block and the last two points of the match on kills.
Hughes was just one of several players who turned in outstanding efforts for both the Carson and Douglas high school volleyball teams before Douglas prevailed in five games 25-19, 20-25, 25-18, 22-25, 15-10 on Wednesday at Morse Burley Gym.
For now, the Tigers gained a slight edge for the final playoff spot from the Sierra League into the Northern 4A playoffs, improving to 2-4 in league. CHS fell to 2-6 in league after a 25-20, 25-18, 25-17 loss to Manogue on Thursday.
“They just had a lot of determination,” said Douglas coach Suzi Townsell about her team.
Fittingly, Hughes scored the winning point on all three games Douglas won.
She finished with 20 kills and was backed by a tremendous defensive game from Kate Talia, who had 20 digs.
For Carson, Abby Pradere had her usual outstanding all-around match with 40 assists and nine digs and was backed by Emily Bell, who had her best match of the year with 12 kills.
A chess match emerged between Hughes and Pradere.
“She was moving the ball around,” said Townsell about Hughes.
Pradere was moved defensively to try to counter a Douglas offense led by Hughes.
“It worked for a while,” said Townsell about the adjustment to move Pradere.
But Carson coach Robert Maw said the move wasn’t in response to Hughes, it was just an attempt improve the Senators’ defense.
“I was getting killed on defense,” Maw said, “The strategy was just to find a way to play defense.”
When Pradere was at setter, Maw said, “we really struggled with ball control. We struggled getting the ball to Abby on a consistent basis. They were a little more disciplined than we were.”
Douglas took control of the fifth game from the start, taking a 6-1 lead on a kill from who else, Hughes. Carson closed to within 7-5 on Bell’s kill, but that was as close as the Senators would come.
Shea DeJoseph’s kill brought Carson to within 13-10 before Hughes finished off the match with two straight kills.
Douglas took control of game one, taking an 11-7 lead when Hannah Kyle served for five straight points. Talia served for two straight aces as Douglas built a 16-11 lead.
Carson could never come closer than four points and Hughes eventually put the game away with a block.
The Senators jumped out to a 12-4 lead in game two as Bell served for five straight points to finish the rally.
Douglas came all the way back, though, to take a 19-17 lead on you guessed it, a Hughes kill.
But CHS finished the game on an 8-1 run as Raymie Brooks served for five straight points during the run. DeJoseph put the game away with a kill.
Carson led 12-8 in game three but Douglas went on a 7-0 run to take a 15-12 lead with Sierra Sullivan serving for seven straight points during the run, including an ace that made it 15-12. Hughes eventually had another block on game point to put the game away.
Game four was tied 17-17 when Carson took control with a 7-0 run. Camille Kordonowy served for six straight points during the run.
DeJoseph came alive with four straight kills to finish the run, giving the Senators a 24-17 lead.
Douglas made things interesting by going on a 5-0 run to pull to within 24-22 before Cami Larkin’s kill on game point put the game away.
DeJoseph had 10 kills, Larkin had nine kills, Audrey Breeding had seven kills, Kordonowy had 15 digs, Brooks had 11 digs and Camryn Quilling added 10 digs for Carson.
Emily Carr had 11 kills, Sullivan had 11 kills and five aces, Fiona Mora had 27 assists and Amanda Hone added 21 assists for Douglas.