Carson volleyball holds off Dayton |

Carson volleyball holds off Dayton

The Dayton Nation had the Carson High volleyball team on the ropes. But Lindsay Ford came up with the play that may have very well have saved the match.

With the match tied at one game apiece, Dayton was leading 23-20 and looked to be on the verge of taking a 24-20 lead when the ball had almost landed on Carson’s side of the court. But Ford came out of nowhere to make the save before the ball hit the floor and the ball went off of her hand onto Dayton’s side of the court to make the score 23-21. Carson used the momentum to go on to win the game 25-23 and went on to win a hard fought match 25-16, 14-25, 25-23, 25-22 on Thursday at CHS.

While it was an outstanding individual effort, it was representative of Carson’s team effort as the Senators played well enough as a team in the match’s most critical moments when they were pushed to the limit by the Dust Devils with their large and boisterous student section leading the cheers all the way. Carson coach Shana Wilkins said she expected no less from Dayton, the NIAA 3A State runner-up from last year.

“Great,” said Wilkins about her team’s effort. “They really played better than I expected for a first match. They fought through when they had to.”

“They’re a great program,” Wilkins also said about Dayton. “That’s why we scheduled them because they give us some competition at the beginning of the season.”

The match, though, was a costly one for both teams. While it was still premature, it appeared that Dayton’s Laura Hall could have suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game. Carson middle blocker Catherine Brekken also sustained a sprained ankle in the third game and is expected to be out for at least a couple of weeks.

Carson also overcame an outstanding effort by four-year varsity player Amanda Sbragia, who had 12 kills, 10 blocks and 13 digs.

“She does a lot for them,” Wilkins said. “She did everything we expected from her. We were just able to hold our own against her which I was happy about.”

After Ford’s pivotal play, Carson seized the momentum behind Melanie Norvell, who served the last four points. Norvell finished with five aces.

Alex McAlman’s block pulled Carson to within 23-22 and Colleen Etcheverria’s kill. Norvell’s serve helped set up the next point to give Carson a 24-23 lead and McAlman put another one away on game point.

Carson led 3-0 in game three on Kaitlin Burroughs’ ace, but Dayton went on to take an 11-6 lead. Carson came back to tie the score 11-11, thanks to an excellent effort by Etcheverria, who was able to reach back for a hit that she sent down the middle for a kill. The Dust Devils went back up 17-12 before Carson fought back to tie the score 19-19 on Lindsey Kern’s kill. Sbragia’s kill and block helped Dayton take a 23-19 lead before Carson’s final comeback.

The two teams battled back and forth in game four before three straight kills by Sydney Parker and and quick hit by Nicole Scott on a set from Ford helped give the Senators a 20-17 lead. Dayton came back to take a 21-20 lead on Sarah Connet’s kill and led 22-21 on a dink by Nicole Greer. But Carson scored the last four points of the match sparked by McAlman’s block and an ace by Kern.

Carson fought back from a 9-5 deficit to take an 11-9 lead in game one behind Norvell, who served for three straight aces and five straight points. The game stayed close until Carson closed with a 9-1 run behind a quick hit, another kill and block from Scott.

Dayton rolled to a 13-1 lead in game two before Brekken’s kill made it 13-2. Carson kept trying to come back as Sandra McAlman’s kill helped the Senators to close to within 17-5, but the Dust Devils built a 21-5 lead. Two aces by Carson’s Allison Foltz at the end of the game made the score more respectable.

“I feel real good about the effort because I was nervous coming in,” Dayton coach Sondra McMullen said. I’m really pretty happy. We had some letdowns. Carson’s got a lot of height.

“If we do this well in our league we’ll be fine. We’re going to make a run for being No. 1 in our league. If we play like this and keep improving, we’ll definitely be at state.”

Parker had seven kills, Scott had four kills and five blocks Alex McAlman had four kills, Michelle Raponi and Etcheverria each had six digs and Ford had 21 assists and four blocks.

“Our team did a great job of pulling together,” Wilkins said. “We were able to keep our momentum when we got it.”

For Dayton, Michelle Bowman had three kills, seven assists and seven digs, Connet had three kills, nine digs and 20 assists, Greer had three kills and four digs, Sara Simmons had two kills and six digs, Bailey Garcia added a kill and Melony Cox had a kill and two aces.

McMullen also praised the Dayton Nation, her student rooting section. “You couldn’t ask for better crowd support,” she said.

“I really believe that makes a big difference in our performance. That means a lot to the girls and myself.”