Douglas wins volleyball regional title |

Douglas wins volleyball regional title

Joey Crandall
For the Nevada Appeal

For the first time in eight years, the Douglas Tigers are regional champs in volleyball.

Douglas pulled off its third sweep in as many matches in the NIAA regional tournament to beat Manogue 30-28, 25-17, 25-23 at Manogue Saturday night.

“We did it, we did it 15 (players) as one,” said senior outside hitter Shannon Dugan, who led the Tigers with 15 kills. “We did it together, that’s what we’ve been working toward all season. Everyone on the floor, everyone on the bench, the fans, everyone played a part in this.”

Douglas escaped with the Game 1 win after an epic struggle that saw eight lead changes and seven ties.

The Tigers built an early 5-1 lead, but Manogue stormed back to take a 14-10 advantage.

Douglas again charged out to a five-point lead at 21-16 and later had the Miners at 23-21 before Manogue tied it at 23. That set of a stretch of 12 points where match point was attained six times.

Kills from Erin Allison and Brenna White, though, finished out the game.

“I was proud that they kept their composure, fighting through that first game,” Douglas coach Suzi Townsell said. “They’ve been doing that all year, finding ways to win close games like that, and tonight was no different.

“I think it shows their maturity, just how far they’ve come. It was a key moment in the match. Getting that first game is so important, especially with the emotion put into it.”

The second game was close early on as well, with Douglas building a 15-13 lead before putting it away with a 10-4 run. Nikki Chavez had a timely ace and Dugan put down four kills down the stretch.

Douglas then built a 22-18 lead in the third and appeared ready to walk away with the title before Manogue put together a furious rally, scoring five of the next seven points.

The Miners closed the deficit to 24-23 with a 4-1 rally, but Emily Garcia hammered home a kill for Douglas’ final point and the regional title.

Even with the trophy in hand, the Tigers were quick to focus on next week’s state tournament, which very well could include a rematch with Manogue in the state title match.

“It’s been our goal to take state,” said Brenna White, who finished with 12 kills. “Hopefully we can make it there. We’ve been working toward this all year and we were able to play like we can tonight. We just need to keep it going.”

Townsell echoed the sentiment.

“We’ll celebrate now, but we start preparing on Monday,” Townsell said. “We have to take this in stride and have a normal work week heading into the tournament.”

Douglas had an outstanding night from the middle of its front line as Allison finished with six kills, most of which came at crucial moments in the match, and Keely Latham had four kills while Garcia was held in check by the Miner defense through most of the match.

Garcia, the Tigers’ go-to force in the middle though, broke through in the third by scoring four of her five kills in the final set.

“It’s so nice to have core people that can step up when you need them,” Townsell said. “If someone is off, or if the other team is keying on someone, someone else is right behind them to back them up.

“It was a total team effort tonight with a lot of people stepping up at key moments.”

Douglas improved to 34-2 overall on the year, beating Manogue for the third time of the season.

The state tournament begins Friday night at Manogue.