Carson holds off Damonte Ranch in 5 |

Carson holds off Damonte Ranch in 5

Darrell Moody

It appeared that Carson’s volleyball team was going to make quick work of Damonte Ranch when it took the first two games in approximately 45 minutes.

Carson made some personnel changes, lost its momentum and dropped the next two games before pulling out a dramatic victory in game five to take the match 25-19, 25-16, 19-25, 19-25 and 15-11 Tuesday night at Morse Burley Gym.

“It’s a big win for the program,” Carson coach Justin Malley said. “I don’t remember a time where we won the first two and lost the next two and came back to win the fifth game. I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to rebound.

“We made some personnel changes that got us a little uncomfortable. Once we got uncomfortable we got tight. We started to try to place the ball (on our spikes) instead of hitting through the ball.”

In the deciding fifth game, there were nine ties. The teams were never separated by more than three points until Carson scored the match-winner to make it a four-point game.

Carson took a 9-6 lead thanks to an ace by Angela Augusta (5 kills, 14 digs, 3 aces), a net violation on Damonte and a tip kill by Christa McGahuey (6 kills, 5 blocks).

Damonte bounced right back, tying the game at 9 on a tip by Megan Dodson and two blocks by Kennedy Hall.

With the score tied at 11, Carson scored the final four points of the match. Elysse Virden (8 kills, 5 blocks) tipped a shot off a Damonte defender and then the Mustangs were called for a net violation to make it 13-11.

That set the stage for Jazmyn Stokes (14 digs), who made one of the best defensive plays of the game. Stokes lunged for a spike and her hit wasn’t returned. The match ended moments later when Jeanette Van Sickle (15 kills, 5 blocks, 4 digs) pounded home a spike to send the partisan crowd home in a good mood.

In the opening game, Damonte built a 12-7 only to see Carson run off the next 12 points with McGahuey at the service line. Five of those came on kills or blocks by Virden, Augusta contributed two kills, McGahuey had an ace serve and setter Bailey Valente (35 assists) had a nicely placed tip which caught the Mustangs off guard. Damonte never got closer than five points the rest of the game.

Carson rolled to a 5-0 lead in the second game on he strength of two kills by Virden, one by McGahuey and one by Sarah Lushina.

Damonte closed to 10-8 thanks to the play of Dodson and Hall. Carson got it back to 15-8 thanks to a Van Sickle block, an ace by Augusta and another kill by Lushina (7 kills, 6 digs, 2 aces).

The Mustangs closed the gap to 15-12, but Carson tallied 10 of the next 13 points to take go up 2-0.

“The first two games we served well and blocked well,” Malley said. “We forced them to play to our defense. Bailey (Valente, 35 assists) did a great job of distributing the ball.”

In the next two games, Carson’s serving left a lot to be desired. The Senators missed nine serves which is critical in rally scoring because it’s a free point.

Damonte Ranch also made a change at setter, as coach Dave Wallace went to Emily Byrne in lieu of Rose Collins. Byrne had been playing outside hitter, but Wallace needed her at setter and felt the offense functioned a lot better.

Up next for Carson is a match against rival Douglas at 6 p.m. Thursday.