PREP VOLLEYBALL: Tigers grab state win with little effort |

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Tigers grab state win with little effort

Joey Crandall
Nevada Appeal News Service

RENO – There was a moment late in Saturday’s 4A state championship volleyball match during a long rally point where the Douglas High defense coverage lapsed as the ball dropped toward the floor.

Tiger senior setter Jackie Harper flung her foot out in a desperate attempt to save the ball. Amazingly enough, she connected solidly with the toe of her shoe, sending the ball straight up in the air and saving the point.

While Green Valley eventually took the point, the play sent the gym into a frenzy and summarized the entire match for Douglas.

Seemingly everything the Tigers touched turned to gold as Douglas cruised a 25-20, 25-9, 25-15 win to claim its first state volleyball title since 1998.

“That was just a miscommunication,” a laughing Harper said about the “kick” save. “It was the first thing I could think of. I stuck my foot out there and it worked.

“We worked so hard this week and came out so strong in this match. We were so close to our goal, we were to that point where we weren’t going to let anything stop us.

“There was no way we were going to allow ourselves to lose tonight.”

It’s just amazing to know we are going to be one of those banners up in the gym. It’s a great feeling. It’s been a long time for the school and we’re proud to have done it.

Green Valley scored the first point in all three games, but those were the Gators’ only leads of the night.

Douglas broke away from a 10-10 tie in the first game with a 6-2 run and the Gators never really threatened from there.

“The girls really came out fast and hard,” Douglas coach Suzi Townsell said. “That’s what we’ve been trying to do, but it hasn’t happened the last few matches. They came out and really got in Green Valley’s face tonight. I think it really changed things early on.

“We were just more relaxed and composed. You could see the nerves last night (in the semifinals against Bishop Gorman). There was none of that tonight. They played lights out and they weren’t going to be denied.”

The Tigers rode an 11-2 run early in the second that they were able to translate into the 25-9 win. They closed out the third game in just 22 minutes finish the match.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Harper, who was in kindergarten the last time the Tigers won a state title. “Just knowing we’re going to be one of those banners in the gym.

“We just played together. That’s been the key all season and that’s what happened tonight.”

Harper had 32 assists in the win while Brenna White had 13 kills and Dugan added 12.

Keely Latham had seven kills, Emily Garcia had four, Erin Allison had three and Mia Townsell led a staunch defensive effort.

Dugan, who was named the Sierra League Player of the Year earlier in the day added four aces.