Fallon slips past Carson
Big-game experience told the tale Thursday night, when Carson High School hosted Fallon in a girls’ volleyball matchup between Northern 4A Division II front-runners.
Fallon has that experience with the nucleus back from a team that went 18-2 during the 1998 regular season. And that was the difference, as the Greenwave picked up a straight-set victory over the up-and-coming Senators at Morse Burley Gymnasium, 15-12, 17-15, 15-12.
“That’s the best team we’ve played this year. I still think they’re the team to beat in the North,” Carson coach Daryl James said. “They made all the big plays at key times, and we didn’t.
“They’ve been there before. They come in expecting to win and we’re the team trying to get there. We just need to believe in ourselves.”
While Carson’s record dropped to 6-2, Fallon improved to 8-1 and retained its hold on first-place in Division II along with once-beaten Reno.
“This was a huge win,” Fallon coach Caryn Marshall said. “That second game was the key to the whole match. Carson seemed to be in control but we edged back in, one point at a time. That was just a good win.”
Carson was in position to win the second game. Alyson Thurman delivered back-to-back kills over the middle off quick sets from Davina Carter to put the Senators up 11-7. The collaborated again to make it 12-10.
The Senators extended their lead to 14-11, but missed four opportunities at game point. Carter delivered an ace to give Carson a 15-14 lead and another game point, but Fallon’s Jennifer Hucke answered with a big kill for sideout.
Fallon tied the score, and then Halie Ellifritz put down a kill to give the Greenwave a 16-15 lead before Hucke put it away with another kill.
“We had our chances there,” James said. “In addition to having them at game point, there were two or three times when we got the dig on their hit, we had the ball on our side and we did not pass it up where we could run our offense.”
Down two games and trailing 5-0 in game three, the Senators continued to battle. They cut the gap to 11-10 when Carter set Kaitlin Leck for a kill down the middle, and then made it 13-12 when Alyson Thurman set Leck for a shot down the line.
The Senators never got any closer as Fallon put it away with the aid of two kills delivered by Monica Mehak.
Hucke, a returning all-conference player and junior national team member, finished the night with 18 blocks and 13 kills. Mehak, a two-time all-conference selection, had 22 kills and six blocks. Freshman setter Tristin Adams contributed 43 assists.
The Senators put up some good numbers of their own. Thurman gave a solid all-around performance with 24 kills, 10 digs, four blocks and one ace. Leck had 18 kills and four digs; Erin Menath 10 kills and three aces; Carrie Ostrander nine kills, eight kills and four aces; and Jennifer Saunders had eight kills.
One statistic stood out on an ominous note.
“We had 15 out serves,” James pointed out. “That killed us.”
Another indicator of how the two teams battled each other was the sideouts column. There were 46 in game two, 44 in game three.
“We battled. I was proud of the way the kids kept it together,” James said. “It just came down to execution at a few key points. But no excuses. We just need to do it. The kids need to step up and believe they’re going to win games like this.”
Now the Senators have to prepare for a big test on Tuesday against defending state champion Douglas in Minden.