Douglas volleyball falls to Manogue
Nevada Appeal Sports Writer
RENO”They may not be identical, but twin sisters Grace and Sofia Anxo had the Douglas Tigers seeing double on Friday.
Grace had a game-high 19 kills and 15 digs and Sofia added 16 kills and four digs for the Sierra League No. 3 seed Bishop Manogue Miners, who toppled top-seeded Douglas 26-24, 28-26, 25-14 in the Gold Mine at Bishop Manogue High School in the semifinals of the NIAA Northern 4A Regional Championships.
It was a matchup that would’ve left former Doors frontman Jim Morrison intoning “weird scenes inside the Gold Mine” as it was “The End” of the season for the Tigers.
Douglas fell to 33-2 after entering the tournament as the Sierra League No. 1 seed after sweeping the Miners in two regular-season meetings.
With the victory, the Miners advanced to play Reno for the regional championship beginning 5 p.m. today at Bishop Manogue High School. Both teams advanced to next week’s state championships.
“A lot of things had to happen for us tonight ” if we play with disciplined technique, we can beat a lot of teams,” said second-year Manogue head coach Jason Sterrett, whose Miners are now in their first-ever state tournament since they moved up from the 3A. “We did that tonight.”
Manogue, now 17-7, did it by refusing to give in when it was down and showed the only lead that counts is the one at the end of the game. The Miners trailed nearly the entire first game (they did knot it up 1-1 and 14-14) until Grace Anxo’s kill tied it 24-24.
Allison Hill had two of her six kills to the end the first game.
The Tigers never trailed the second game (they led by as many as eight at 15-7) until a Sofia Anxo kill put Manogue up 26-25. Douglas tied it the next point, but a Tigers blocking error and a Grace Anxo tip gave the Miners the game and all the momentum.
Douglas held the lead in the third game until Manogue pulled ahead at 6-5 and proceeded to win 19 of the next 28 points to pull off the upset.
“I didn’t think we’d run them out of the gym, but I knew it would be a tough battle and great competition,” said Grace Anxo, who along with Sofia has played for Sierra Nevada Volleyball Club and the Nevada Juniors and is being recruited by Nevada, TCU, Colorado State and several other Division-I schools. “I guess we wanted it more than they did. We had the desire.”
Second-year Douglas coach Suzi Townsell said she thought her team played well, but just didn’t finish.
Senior Jessica Waggoner led the Tigers with 15 blocks and seven kills, sophomore Jourdan Burke had seven kills and five blocks and junior Megan Mitchell chipped in eight kills to go with her 11 assists.
“I’m very proud of our girls,” Townsell said. “They did great. They are a very special team. There’s nothing to hang my head about; there’s nothing for the girls to hang their heads about. It happens.”
The Miners are hoping “it” happens for them this year. Though the Gold Mine has many banners hanging from its rafters, not one of them is a state volleyball championship from any classification.
“It’s going to be a tremendous battle like it was tonight,” Sterrett said of today’s meeting with defending Northern 4A regional champion Reno.
RENO 3, DAMONTE RANCH 2
Though the Damonte Ranch Mustangs had a lot of Steel on their team ” that would be sisters Riece, Scharae and Chaiyman Steel ” it was the High Desert League champion Reno Huskies who had more steel in their nervous system.
The Huskies rallied from a 2-1 deficit to take a 25-21, 26-28, 19-25, 25-20, 15-13 victory over the Mustangs in the NIAA Northern 4A Regional Championship semifinals at Bishop Manogue High School.
Reno senior Shelbi Zaldain came up big for the Huskies, notching a team-high 24 kills in keeping Reno alive to defend its zone title.
“She was on fire,” first-year Reno head coach Adrian Hancoff said of the 6-foot-1 Zaldain. “She played out of her skin. Tonight she did what she needed to do.”
So did the rest of the Huskies, including junior setter Perry Bradley, who contributed 45 assists and 10 digs, sophomore Samantha O’Connell (11 kills and six digs) and junior Aubrey Mitchell (10 kills).
After a 13-10 Reno lead morphed into a 13-13 tie in the fifth game, Zaldain blasted a shot through three Mustangs defenders and Mitchell took a feed from Bradley on the right side and put the game away with a smoker.
“We came together as a team,” Hancoff said. “It took every person on the team ” everyone had a role tonight. The team is buying into my philosophy and in each other.”
The Huskies (23-6) lost their only meeting with the Miners this season and will join Manogue in next week’s state championships at Bishop Manogue High School.
The Mustangs, the 2005 Class 4A state champion and the No. 2 seed from the Sierra League this season, ended their season 23-8.