Gators bite Tigers in state volleyball
LAS VEGAS – There would be no miracle comeback for the Douglas High School volleyball team this time.
Instead, Green Valley scrapped to win the first game and then went on to defeat the Tigers 3-1 in the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State Tournament semifinals on Friday night at Chaparral High School.
Green Valley won 17-15, 12-15, 15-6, 15-6 in a battle between two teams that played for the 1998 state championship. Douglas won that 1998 match. Green Valley won this time, giving the Gators a berth opposite Silverado in the championship match today at noon. Silverado defeated Sunset Region champ Durango in the other semifinal on Friday 15-7, 15-8, 15-11.
The scenario was different from last weekend, when the Tigers won the Northern 4A Regional Tournament after they staged a major comeback to defeat Galena in the semifinals. In that match, the Tigers came back from a 14-7 deficit in game four to stave off elimination and eventually took the match by winning game five 23-21.
There were two keys for Douglas (21-2) on Friday when the Tigers had an 18-match win streak snapped by Sunrise Region champion Green Valley (22-1). First was an inability to pass, according to coach Kira Laden.
“Our passing was real off tonight,” Laden said. “If we don’t have all three options, it makes it easier for them to dig our our hits. We weren’t able to run everything we needed to run to be a good team tonight.”
The second key may well have been the Tigers’ inability to close out game one after leading most of the way. They led 14-11 and served seven times to win the game, but failed to cash in.
“Winning the first game is always a key win,” Laden said. “Losing that one tonight put us in a tough situation.”
Douglas still came back to win game two, but lost its momentum from the outset of game three. The Green Valley Gators put down six kills on the Tigers’ first eight serves and went on to take leads of 9-1 and 12-3. Jenn Todd, a 6-foot-3 middle blocker, had one kill and Sydney Venable two kills to close out the game.
Statistically, Jencie LeJeune had 16 kills to lead Douglas at the net. Emily Haas contributed 14 kills and eight blocks and Megan Brinkmeyer had nine blocks. Brittany Addeo dished out 47 assists in the match.
Chelsey Myers, who went out with a sprained ankle in the Tigers’ opening round victory against Palo Verde on Thursday, returned to the court and helped out with 11 digs.
“I couldn’t move as quick in the back row as usual,” Myers said. “That was hard, but all the other back row players helped me out.”
Green Valley was led by Todd, who had 17 kills (nine for sideout).
STATE 1A TOURNAMENT
Virginia City fell just short in its bid to knock off four-time defending 1A state champion Pahranagat Valley, but the Muckers are still alive in the double elimination tournament at Chaparral High.
Pahranagat turned back Virginia City in a best-of-three match between Northern and Southern regional tournament champs 15-8, 14-16, 17-15.
Virginia City won its opener against Trinity 17-15, 15-6. The two teams meet again this morning at 10 a.m. at Chaparral, with the winner advancing to the finals against Pahranagat.
STATE 3A TOURNAMENT
Moapa Valley will shoot for its 11th straight state title tonight when the Pirates face Bishop Manogue in the 3A finals at 6 p.m. at Chaparral.