The Lady Wave picked up a much needed win Monday in Northern 3A volleyball by sweeping visiting North Valleys in three close sets.
Fallon won 25-21, 25-20 and 25-23 in a match that saw the Wave smash 26 kills against the Panthers. With the win, Fallon improved to 2-3 in the Northern 3A, 2-7 overall before it match against Fernley the following day.
“We had a better tempo of the game tonight,” coach Patty Daum said of Fallon’s play against North Valleys.
Daum called several timeouts to adjust the set’s tempo, and Fallon settled down. Overall, Daum said Fallon’s defense played better and the passes were on point.
“We got called for a few lifts, but that’s something we’ll work on,” she said.
Except for the first set in which the Lady Wave dominated from beginning to end, the Panthers clawed for every point in two tight games.
Fallon came out blazing, though, in the first set by taking a 9-1 lead. Shelbi Schultz’s serving netted an ace, and the Panthers committed three errors resulting in a 5-0 Lady Wave lead. The Wave outplayed the Panthers for the next four points, causing the visitors to commit four straight mistakes.
North Valleys scored three service points from Brytlee Jansen-Rollman, who also had an ace when Fallon couldn’t control the return.
Fallon then responded with three aces from Karlee Hitchcock, the third serve hitting the court in front of the backline, for a 14-4 lead. Daum said Hitchcock served well for the entire match
North Valleys outscored Fallon 6-4 over a short stretch as Fallon committed three forced errors, and the Panthers’ Ashley Burkey nailing a pair of aces that resulted in the Lady Wave calling a timeout.
Fallon struggled with its offensive game, and North Valleys rallied to slice the lead to 22-21 until the Wave scored the final three points on a hard return from Rylee Buckmaster and two North Valleys’ mistakes, miscommunication on the front line and a long return.
North Valleys jumped on Fallon for a 5-1 lead in the second set as the Wave struggled on offense. The Panthers saw its lead slide into a 5-5 tie as Fallon attacked the ball, and libero Journey Martin smashed the ball for a kill. She also led Fallon with seven digs. Fallon never trailed again although both teams fell into a tie at 14.
Lorynn Fagg and Hitchcock gave Fallon sustained serving, and Fagg recorded an ace. She led Fallon with five aces. The Panthers struggled to set up the ball cleanly as Fallon led 12-7. Taylor Ingram also helped the surge with a kill.
“Taylor’s not a flashy player, but she’s a smart, consistent player,” Daum said. “She doesn’t force things that aren’t there.”
Both teams struggled with their errors, although Fallon’s Ashley Agaman had a strategically placed soft tip fall between North Valley’s first and second rows.
Errors haunted the Wave, though, and North Valleys tied the set until Fallon went on a 6-0 run with Ingram serving.
Down the stretch, Fallon outplayed the Panthers at the net, and Hitchcock had a pair of kills and a block, and Kinsli Rogne, who had five kills in the match, also had a key return as the ball fell inside the line.
The Lady Wave struggled in the third set until Fallon tied the Panthers at 10.
North Valleys took advantage of Fallon’s struggles of returning the ball into the net or hitting the ball out of bounds,
Ingram had a key kill as did Buckmaster as Fallon slowly chipped away at the lead. Middle blocker Madison Whitaker, who played one of her better matches, then recorded a kill that sailed toward the sideline. Ingram stepped up to serve four straight points including an ace. Whitaker had five kills and four blocks.
“I’m pleased with Maddie’s timing,” Daum pointed out. “She has become more patient and is better at reading the game.”
After Fallon tied the set, both teams traded points and leads until they knotted the score at 17 on an Ingram kill that bounced in the left corner. North Valleys and Fallon traded points.
Fallon outscored the Panthers 8-6 in an error-filled stretch to win the set and match. Rogne’s kill, though, resulted in set point for Fallon. North Valleys ended the set by returning the serve in the net.
Daum said the players have been working hard and concentrating better.
Kills: Ingram and Hitchcock, 6 each; Rogne and Whitaker, 5 each.
Service aces: Fagg, 5; Ingram and Hitchcock, 3 each, Schultz, 1.
Blocks: Whitaker, 4.
Digs: Martin, 7.
Assists: Schultz and Buckmaster, 9 each; Agaman and Moretto, 3 each.