Douglas High's Shasta Garr (6) goes up for a kill Thursday evening during a match against Spanish Springs. Garr had eight kills in the Tigers' five-set loss to the Cougars.
Photo by Ron Harpin.
Plenty of fans in attendance Thursday night for Douglas High volleyball’s contest with Spanish Springs had white knuckles going into the fourth and fifth sets.
Though the Cougars came away with the 3-2 win – 24-26, 25-17, 25-22, 20-25, 15-12 – the Tigers put a scare into one of the North’s top teams this fall.
Spanish Springs entered Thursday night’s contest with an 18-3 overall record and had only dropped nine sets combined in those 21 matches.
Up 2-1 and leading 15-13 in the fourth, the Tigers could’ve folded and allowed the Cougars to continue their recent winning form.
That never turned out to be the case as Douglas put together a streak of its own to take the fourth and force a decisive fifth set.
“We were working on finishing and they completely did,” said Douglas High head coach Suzi Townsell. “They’re listening, being attentive and they want it.”
Getting to the thick of it
Douglas’s fourth set run started with senior captain Chana Rothschild putting down an ace to tie the set at 15-all.
After a Tiger kill, Suzy Berger made it 19-17 Douglas with an ace of her own.
Spanish Springs forced a couple of quick side outs, but responded by missing a pair of serves.
Rothschild pounded one of her nine kills into the floor to make it 22-19 Douglas before adding a tip over the net to make it 24-20.
Fellow captain Sofia Kolbe concluded the set in the Tigers’ column with a dump that the Cougars couldn’t dig up off the ground.
“That was huge for us to do that,” said Townsell of the fourth set win. “I think it’s a great confidence booster.”
In the fifth, Douglas’ confidence showed in its play.
Libero Summer Williams, who finished with 10 digs, went diving across the back line to grab a dig that kept the Tigers alive for a point in the fifth set.
A few points later, Leann Lemalu – who led the Tigers with 12 kills – stuck her foot out as a last ditch effort to dig the ball off the floor.
“All you have to be is athletic and that’s what we tell them all the time. This group of girls is amazingly athletic,” said Townsell.
Spanish Springs piped two aces to take a 10-8 lead in the fifth set, but Rothschild’s third ace of the evening knotted the final set at 10-all.
However, the Cougars got some luck as an attack hit the top of the net and trickled over to make it 11-10.
A dump and an unforced error gave Spanish Springs a 14-12 lead before Anna Evans put the game away by blasting a kill off a Tiger defender.
Addy Doerr put together six kills and three blocks for Douglas while Kolbe posted four blocks of her own to go along with 33 assists.
Shasta Garr had eight kills and won a couple of key points in order to keep Douglas in it.
Of course, in a loss Townsell and the coaching staff still have takeaways to use in practice.
“They just came out flat at the end of the second,” said Townsell.
Douglas needed a few extra points to win the first set 26-24, but faltered in the second set as the Cougars won six of the final seven points.
UP NEXT: Douglas (9-11, 2-4 in league) will travel to Galena (8-9, 1-4) Tuesday for a league contest scheduled to start at 6 p.m.