Truckee looks to defend its 3A title
LVN Editor Emeritus
Truckee stumbled at the beginning of this year’s Northern 3A season and then dropped its final league match on Monday, but the first-place Wolverines will still be the team to beat in Saturday’s championship.
This year’s 2017 3A Northern Girls Volleyball Tournament begins this afternoon at Churchill County High school’s Elmo Dericco Gym. No. 4 Elko plays No. 5 South Tahoe at 5 p.m. followed by No. 3 Fernley facing county rival No. 6 Dayton at 7 p.m.
Truckee coach Erika Murphy said today’s first match between Elko and South Tahoe will be an interesting one to watch, especially since South Tahoe defeated Truckee on Monday in five sets, 25-21, 22-25, 22-25, 25-9 and 15-13. The winner of the match then faces Truckee at high noon on Saturday. The Lady Vikings are also coming into the tournament with the league’s longest winning streak at four matches. Elko is on a two-match winning streak.
Other Saturday matches include the second semifinal match at 2 p.m. and the championship at 4:30 p.m. The top two teams from Saturday’s championship and the top two teams from the 3A Northern Girls Volleyball Tournament will advance to the state championship tournament on Nov. 10-11 at Faith Lutheran High School in Las Vegas.
Murphy is not discounting any Northern 3A teams from advancing to the state tournament.
“All the teams had something going on this year with players injured or out,” Murphy said. “There was so much fluctuation in the league that it will be pretty exciting.”
Truckee, which won the state 3A title last year, defeated Elko twice this season, 3-2 at Elko and 3-0 at Truckee. The Wolverines also handed South Tahoe a 3-1 loss at Truckee.
“The last time we played Elko, they were very good at blocking,” Murphy pointed out. “They will be very tough for South Tahoe.”
Lowry, which split the season with Truckee, emerged as the No. 2 team and also received a first-round bye. The Lady Bucks play the winner of the Fernley-Dayton match. Lowry, though, suffered a defeat in its last regular season match, losing in four sets to Yerington, a Northern 2A team, on Tuesday.
“Any of the teams in the regional tournament can win,” said Lowry head coach Brandon Eastman. “This is what kind of year it has been. It will come down to who shows up and has the best weekend. It will be exciting.”
Murphy said Fernley, which dropped its final league match, will literally be playing a home match since the community is so close to Fallon. Dayton, though, finished the season on a winning note, defeating Fallon on the Greenwave’s home floor last Thursday. The Truckee coach said any one of the six teams in the regional tournament can advance to state. Truckee, Lowry and Fernley all finished 12-4 in league, while Dayton, Elko and South Tahoe all posted 10-6 marks.
“There’s something about kids’ sports,” she said. “On any given day, any team can beat the other. Any of these six here could win on a certain day.”
Murphy said her players will be more focused this weekend. This South Tahoe match occurred on the first day of the school’s mid-term exam week, and she said her players were stressed. Nevertheless, Murphy worked on her team’s approach to the weekend.
“We were setting up different scenarios and coming up with different approaches based on stats from the other teams,” Murphy said.
The defending Northern 3A champs depend on co-captain Madison Bromley, who provides the Wolverines with power from her outside hitter’s positon. Ryleigh Hogland contributes power from the right side with her returns and kills. Kelly Cross can frustrate opponents from the front line. At the service line, Haylie Stewart can give Truckee a lift with consistent serving.
Adjusting to other teams, though, is not something new for the Wolverines. During the season Murphy changed players or changed a player’s positon based on the team’s opponent. Many of her players have been in difficult situations before, so Murphy said it will be interesting to see how other teams handle their execution and react when the sets become close and intense.
“There will be some good games to watch,” she added.