Changes prove beneficial to Lady Wave |

Changes prove beneficial to Lady Wave

Steve Ranson
The Lady Wave's Haylee Paladini (10) positions herself for a kill against Sparks in the first set of Wednesday's match in Fallon.

Change is good as the Lady Wave volleyball team discovered Wednesday night.

Coach Patty Daum mixed up her rotation against Sparks in a Northern 3A volleyball match Wednesday at the Elmo Dericco Gym, and she was pleased with the results.

“My girls know if I put them in a new position, I trust them,” she said after Fallon swept the Railroaders in three sets, 25-7, 25-13 and 25-14.

Fallon plays on the road this weekend at Spring Creek on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Elko on Saturday at noon.

Daum said taking the players out of their comfort zone and placing them in different positions definitely led to some uncomfortable moments for her team, which is 3-1 in league play after beginning the 3A season with a loss to first-place Truckee.

“When you’re in an uncomfortable position, you tend to become a better player,” she added.

How did change affect the Lady Wave?

Daum had outside hitter Haylee Palidini set the ball, while regular setter Zoey Swisher played more defense. Players normally positioned as middle hitters found themselves roaming on the outside. Paladini, this week’s LVN Athlete of the Week, said the change was good.

“I have never worked on being a setter before, but it was a lot of fun,” she said after the match.

When Paladini found herself in the middle, she adjusted quickly and moved the ball away from two of Sparks’ tallest players, Caroline Aguilar and Violani Tau’Faan.

“I worked around them,” Paladini said. “They were good players.

The Lady Wave controlled each of the three sets, taking a lead that was never relinquished.

Fallon’s offense had an arsenal of weapons in the opening set. Outside hitter Aleisa Billips and Paladini rattled off several kills down the sidelines, and Lorynn Fagg was on fire with three service aces.

Sparks had a few shots drop on the Fallon defense including Akosita Tau’Faan’s nicely placed return between the Wave’s front and back rows.

Fallon ended the first set with an exclamation point, an ace served by Macie Anderson.

A combination of Sparks’ error and two serving aces from Palidini put Fallon quickly on top, 8-3, in the second set. Both LeAnn Stands and Whitney Skabelund worked the net and their hard returns to the Railroaders sparked hesitation from the visit as the players had difficulty in setting up the ball for returns.

Anderson put some ice on the set when she served a pair of aces, and after another side out, Kayla Buckmaster ‘s kill down the right side sealed the win.

Anderson’s play definitely caught Daum’s eye.

“Macie did a great job,” she said. “She came off the bench tonight and did a nice job. Macie’s not a flashy player. She keeps it simple and plays hard.”

With Daum rotating more players into different positions in the third set, Sparks kept the final game close. Akosita Tau’Faan took charge of the middle for the Railroaders and recorded several kills and kept rallies alive.

The closest Sparks trailed in the third set was by four points, 13-9, after the Wave returned a hard kill into the net for a Sparks point.

Fallon’s serving for the final 12 points took over as the Wave recorded five aces, two coming from Journey Martin.

Both Fagg and Martin played well, said Daum, as each player executed her passes and stepped in to help the offense.

Out of 62 serves, Fallon had 19 aces. Skabelund finished the match with nine assists, while Palidini and Swisher each had 6.