North Tahoe volleyball | Lakers too much for Highlanders on senior night |

North Tahoe volleyball | Lakers too much for Highlanders on senior night

Sylas Wright / Sierra SunNorth Tahoe players celebrate after defeating Incline in four games on senior night Tuesday.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; With every sneaky dump shot and stinging kill scored by Iren Rojas or Lexie Courcier, respectively, the Lakers gained more and more swagger against their lakeside rivals Tuesday night.

By the end of the fourth set, they were practically walking on air as they celebrated a win against Incline on senior night, 16-25, 25-11, 25-22, 25-15.

and#8220;It feels amazing to win this match,and#8221; said Rojas, a senior setter who finished with nine kills and 11 service aces to pace North Tahoe. and#8220;To win the last time on our home court is probably the greatest feeling I’ve ever felt. I’m really excited.and#8221;

Rojas wasn’t alone.

and#8220;We played so well; we played like a team,and#8221; said senior libero Heidi Jimenez. and#8220;We were like, and#8216;This is our home, let’s take this all the way. Go hard or go home.’and#8221;

The Lakers rebounded to win three straight games after letting the opening one slip away.

The first set remained close early, with five ties and three lead changes before Incline used an eight-point run behind the serving of Justine Nelson to create some distance, at 16-8. The Lakers ended the run with a kill by Aleida Gutierrez, but Incline senior middle blocker Charlene Swick answered with one of her 10 kills on the night, and the Highlanders outscored the Lakers 9-7 down the stretch to pull out the win.

It was the last time Incline would enjoy a lead the rest of the match, save for a short-lived, 1-0 advantage to start the third set.

and#8220;I think we were passing stronger that first game and then we began losing it in the second game,and#8221; said Incline head coach Tacy Kelly. and#8220;Once that happened, I think the girls just lost belief.and#8221;

North Tahoe seized momentum early in Game 2, as Rojas strung together seven consecutive serves to give the Lakers a 9-3 lead. The combination of Rojas, who was deadly with her deceptive tap shot over the net instead of a pass, and Courcier, who smashed a match-high 16 kills, was too much for the Highlanders down the stretch as North Tahoe ended the set on a 10-3 run.

Incline senior Laurel Perry recorded one of her nine kills to start the third game, but North Tahoe regained control and led by a narrow margin throughout en route to the three-point win.

Courcier had fully warmed up by the fourth set as she crushed several hard kills, including two in the first four points. The Highlanders, who struggled to gain any kind of rhythm on the night, appeared frustrated as the Lakers rolled to the easy win.

and#8220;They really wanted to win this one,and#8221; said North Tahoe head coach Tom LeFevers. and#8220;We’ve lost a few close matches that we shouldn’t have lately, so it was nice to get this one. They all came together and played hard.and#8221;

Along with her 16 kills, Courcier tallied two blocks and three aces, while Kylie Willson had four kills, Gutierrez had three kills, and Taylor Briggs had two aces, two kills and two blocks. But it was Rojas who was instrumental to the win, her coach said.

and#8220;The difference was Iren. She was really on,and#8221; said LeFevers.

For Incline, Charlene Swick led the way with 10 kills and two blocks.

The Lakers finished the regular season 3-7 in Mount Rose League play and 9-17 overall, while Incline fell to 2-7 in league and 5-16 overall with one match remaining.

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