Galena volleyball beats Douglas for title
Just when it appeared that the Douglas volleyball team was going to take a match to the fifth set for the third time in the playoffs, Galena turned around and shut the door, claiming the Northern 4A Regional Championship at Galena High School Saturday night.
After the Grizzlies blew through the first two sets, Douglas captured the third with some gritty play from its middle hitters. The Tigers fell behind 8-4 in the fourth, but went on a 9-1 run to take a 13-9 lead.
Galena battled back forcing a series of Tiger errors, and proceed to slowly build a lead back up before Chelsea Applebaum and Nancy Burrows recorded twin kills to put away the match.
“We tried to refocus (after Douglas’ run),” Galena coach Teresa Burrows said. “We need to get back our ball control and try to get some good passes in.
“We just got back to trying to find holes in their defense and get around their blocks as much as we possibly could and pick up our defense.”
Jenny Burrows had 15 kills and Lydia Mailander added 14 for the Grizzlies while Kate Wallace assisted on 46 of the team’s 54 kills in the match.
Jenny Burrows led her team with 23 digs and Wallace had 12 blocks in the win.
Galena got out of the gate fast, opening with a 21-5 run.
Douglas battled back with an 8-2 run before Galena closed out the set with a Burrows kill and a Tiger error.
“We always seem to start pretty fast to begin with, so that wasn’t anything new necessarily,” Burrows said. “It alway helps to get that first win under your belt.”
As with most of the match, the teams fought back and forth in the second set and had numerous points where the ball exchanged sides more than four or five times.
After the Grizzlies took the second set 25-21, Douglas went on a tear in the third, closing out the set with a 5-1 run in which Dawson Joyce-Mendive had two kills and a block for a point and Kayla Dunn and Monica Knight each had a kill.
“Douglas wouldn’t lie down, I told the girls they weren’t going to,” coach Burrows said. “I knew they were going to battle to the end like they did.”
Douglas positioned itself to take the fourth set, but fell victim to the error bug, committing six in a stretch of nine points, allowing the Grizzlies back in.
Galena took advantage with both Nancy and Jenny Burrows each putting away two kills in the final 11 points of the set to claim the title.
Julia Mailander finished with 10 kills for the Grizzlies, Lydia Mailander had two aces, and the Grizzlies had five players finish with double-figure blocks.
Whitney Estes was a presence at the net for the Tigers with seven kills and seven blocks. Monica Knight had 10 kills, Cayla Knapp had six kills, Kayla Dunn had four and Dawson Joyce-Mendive added three.
Joyce-Mendive had four blocks and Katy Marsh had 28 assists.
Both Galena and Douglas advanced to the state tournament.
DOUGLAS 3, GALENA 2
Douglas ended Fallon’s volleyball season in the same fashion it did one year ago at the Northern 4A Regional Tournament at Galena High School.
The Lady Tigers rallied in the fifth and final set Saturday afternoon to defeat the Greenwave by four points to advance to the championship round against host Galena.
Douglas won the 90-minute match 14-25, 25-21, 25-15, 16-25 and 15-11.
Fallon ended the season 26-6.
The fifth set went back and forth with five lead changes. After three straight kills from Jessica Daum, Fallon had grabbed an 11-7 lead.
Douglas had problems with its serving until Kayla Dunn stepped up.
The Douglas senior recorded six straight points, and Fallon’s inability to keep the ball inside the lines pushed the Tigers to the win.
“I was thinking I need to get it in but not too soft,” said Dunn after the match.
Fallon coach Coleen Meihack said the loss was disappointing considering that Fallon also dropped its semi-final match to the Tigers in 2003.
“We worked so hard to try and make it,” she said. “It was a great season with a great group of kids.”
Fallon cruised to an easy win in the first set. The ‘Wave jumped out to an 8-2 lead with its play at the net and from strong kills from outside hitters Jessica Daum and Whitney Adams.
Douglas had a slow time in reacting to Fallon’s shots and could not sustain any points against Fallon’s defense.
“We anticipated their hits would come down hard, but we over did it,” said Douglas coach Velvet Steel in assessing her team’s response to Fallon’s attack.
The Tigers roared loudly in the second set, never trailing Fallon. The ‘Wave sliced Douglas’ led to within one point six different times, but on each occasion, the Tigers had a crucial kill or block. The Sierra League champs then scored the final four points of the game.
Fallon committed nine forced errors in the set.
Douglas controlled the third set after spotting Fallon a 5-4 lead on three service points from Ashley Sloan and two errors. The lead changed hands three times before Douglas doubled the ‘Wave 6-3.
Fallon had renewed problems keeping the ball in play. Monica Knight had several key blocks for Douglas down the stretch.
Fallon also had several calls go against them, causing the ‘Wave to play tentative.
“We usually come back but for some strange reason we couldn’t,” said Meihack.
The fourth set resembled the second game with the score going back and forth. Down by two points, Bethany Ellis recorded four service points to give the ‘Wave a 10-9 lead. After Knight drove a sizzling kill down the line to tie the set, the ‘Wave then surged ahead on a 6-1 run. Douglas tried to slow down the momentum, but the Tigers fell victim to their own forced errors by returning the ball into the net or hitting it long.
Note … Monica Meihack, the daughter of Fallon’s coach, played for Greenwave teams that won back-to-back state titles in 1999-2000 and is now a senior setter for the University of New Mexico. Monica, who celebrates her 22nd birthday on Tuesday, had 32 assists Friday in New Mexico’s straight-set win in Albuquerque against Air Force, 30-20, 30-20, 30-27.
Steve Ranson of the Lahontan Valley News contributed to this story.