Spikers hope to improve on fifth-place at state

Erick Studenicka

It’s game 14 on the tournament schedule. Saturday, Nov. 15. 4 p.m. The championship match set for Green Valley High School in Las Vegas.

That’s the goal of the Tahoe-Truckee High School volleyball team this weekend as the Wolverines participate in the U.S. Bank/3A State Volleyball Tournament in Las Vegas.

“We’re trying to make it to Saturday and beat our fifth-place finish at last year’s tournament,” said Truckee coach Maggie Shane. “If we play strong, we could make it.”

It will be a tough road for the Wolverines to the title game, though, as Truckee opens the tournament today at 1 p.m. in Green Valley against Moapa Valley, the defending state champions. A win against the Pirates would take the Wolverines from the frying pan into the fire, as they would then likely meet Division I champions North Tahoe in the second round at 2:15 p.m. tomorrow (Nov. 14).

“It’s a tough draw,” Shane said. “We need to have consistent days.”

The Wolverines traveled to Las Vegas last night, which Shane said should help the team today.

“By not having to travel in the morning, we should be in a good mental state for the games,” Shane said.

Truckee earned the right to participate in the state tournament by placing third in the Division I tournament last Saturday. The Wolverines clinched the spot in the state tourney by defeating Battle Mountain in the opening round, 15-6, 15-8. Battle Mountain entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed in the league, while Truckee was seeded No. 4.

“The team came out strong against Battle Mountain and was playing really well,” Shane said.

Truckee then advanced to face North Tahoe in the second round, but dropped the match, 15-6, 15-6. A subsequent loss to Spring Creek, 15-10, 6-15, 15-9, dropped the Wolverines to third place. Spring Creek proved to be the surprise of the day, advancing from the No. 4 seed in the division to second place in the tournament. Battle Mountain was ousted from the state playoffs with its two losses.

“I thought we could carry our momentum a bit farther in the tournament,” Shane said, “but the team had a lot of sicknesses which affected us.”

Shane singled out several players for their excellent play during the tournament. (No statistics were available.)

“Monica Gadda played some great defense and Sandy Thiel was solid and consistent,” Shane said. “Nicole Urata also played well as the middle hitter, which isn’t usually her position.”

Shane said on Monday that the ill players on the team were improving.

“The players looked better today,” Shane said. “If they can stay better through Wednesday, we should be healthy for the state tournament.”

In the team’s final home game of the season last Wednesday (Nov. 5), Truckee started out strong against North Tahoe by winning the first game 15-7, but the team then lost three straight to the Lakers, 15-13, 15-7, 15-1.

“We seemed to nosedive off a waterfall,” Shane said. “It’s a mental problem we have against North Tahoe. for some reason, we decide we can’t win the match.”

Despite the loss, there were some bright spots for the Wolverines, including a 95 percent passing rate, the highest for the team this season. Urata finished with six kills, Carrie Teague recorded five and Gadda had four.

Krissy Silva led the team with four blocks and Virginia Wise had two.

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