Lowry holds off Lady Wave spikers
A see-saw battle has left little room for error in the final three matches.
The Fallon volleyball team engaged in a heart-pounding performance, albeit in a losing effort as the Lady Wave fell 25-9, 16-25, 25-11, 28-26, to Lowry on Tuesday in a Northern Division I-A match at the Elmo Dericco Gym.
Lowry (11-1 league) appeared poised to blow out Fallon (5-8) as the Buckaroos came out hitting on all cylinders behind the power of Julian Velasco. After racing to an easy 25-9 opening set win, the Lady Wave found its game with the offense of Evan Matheson, defense of Paige Thorn and Kayla Kincaid and solid match from setter Zoey Swisher.
“I thought the kids did really well,” Fallon coach Patty Daum said. “We had a little bit of inconsistency in the third set, but we were able to come back. They put a triple block on Evan (Matheson) on that last point … which to me is the ultimate sign of respect.”
Long and intense rallies with excellent defense by both clubs defined the match, as numerous times each club thought to have won a point only to see the other team come up with a miraculous save and extend the rally.
“We came out and fought really hard,” Lowry coach Megan Allen said. “It’s good to have these hard-fought wins.”
Fallon’s playoff chances, though, are slim as the Lady Wave trails Dayton (7-6) and South Tahoe (7-6) by two games with three matches remaining. The Lady Wave split its season series with South Tahoe and hosts Dayton today in a must-win game.
Lowry, meanwhile, has clinched a playoff berth and trails Elko (12-0) by one game for the league title.
Still, Lowry’s combination of Velasco, Sierra Thiede and Meg Montero were too much too overcome. The trio leveled numerous blasts to halt any momentum gained by Fallon.
The fourth set, though, was a dogfight as Fallon fought for its postseason life. The Lady Wave jumped out to a 7-3 lead after an ace from Matheson, only to see Lowry buckled down and get back into the deciding set.
An ace by Jillian Albright put Lowry up 9-9, neither team would hold a lead larger than two points the rest of the way.
With Albright back on the service line, the Buckaroos took an 18-16 lead, but Fallon’s Haylee Paladini tied the set at 18 with a big blast.
Lowry’s resolve, though, proved too tough to crack even when trailing 25-24. Matheson’s serve flew out of bounds and Albright and Thiede hammered home a pair of kills to seal the win.
Fallon was picking up anything and putting it back over and we had to hit the ball hard,” Allen said. “Julie is our big middle and when she can hit consistently, she brings a lot of excitement and fire.”
After an abysmal opening set, Fallon found its groove and cruised to a second set win. Kristyn Arvizo’s kill put the Lady Wave up 14-8 and a kill by Matheson and a tip by Kincaid extended the lead to 22-12.
Alesia Billips iced the set with a blast of her own, but Lowry answered with a pivotal win in the third set.
“It was a straight up scrap,” Daum said. “It was just great volleyball.”
Matheson had a team-high 14 kills followed by five each from Paladini and Arvizo. Kincaid added five aces, while Matheson tallied three total blocks and Paladini and Megan McCormick each had two.
Defensively, Thorn and Swisher has 19 and 12 digs, respectively, and Swisher contributed 19 assists.
“She did everything well tonight,” Daum said of Matheson. “She’s been like that all season. I’m just so proud of her and it’s a huge turnaround from last year.”