Truckee volleyball back on winning track
Sierra Sun sports editor
Down 15-10 in the second game against visiting Sparks, Truckee head coach Maggie Shane needed someone to revitalize her team.
She knew just who to turn to.
After her starters had cruised to an easy 25-10 victory in game one, Shane experimented in game two by playing a starting squad of mostly juniors. Down by five, Shane subbed in her serving specialist, senior Mariel Lecuyer.
Lecuyer answered the call, as her teammates won five straight points on her service to tie the score at 15. Truckee would go on to win the game 25-22, and Lecuyer’s timely entrance into the game would propel her team to its second 3-0 win in the Northern 3A to improve its league record to 3-1.
“I just pumped the team up, and that’s what I had to do,” Lecuyer said. “I think (serving) is one of my stronger points.”
Shane was confident that Lecuyer would have success against a Sparks team that looked perturbed by Lecuyer’s serves earlier in the match.
“They were having a hard time passing her serves, so that’s why I put her in,” Shane said. “She closed that gap. She serves a floater, and it’s unusual.”
Sparks was able to get Lecuyer out of the server position with a 16-15 lead, but Truckee would eventually get its first lead of the game, 17-16, on junior outside hitter Jamie Evans’ kill. From that point, the Wolverines outscored the Railroaders 8-4 to take a game they had trailed 7-0 in the early going.
More importantly, the comeback win was accomplished by a group of mostly non-starters, an important confidence boost for a unit that plays a vital supporting role.
“The subs give (the starters) a chance to breathe and relax,” Lecuyer said.
Shane had tried that same combination of back-up players in practice, so she gave it a try against a weaker opponent in a game situation.
“They need court time,” she said, “and I don’t usually play them together, but I just tried it tonight to see how it would work.”
Truckee put their starters back on the court for the duration of the third game and never trailed after the score was tied, 10-10. Shane said she started to run some plays to keep her girls interested in the lopsided third game.
“When the game’s not a challenge against your opponent, then you have to figure out a goal for yourself on your own side to keep the game going,” Shane said. “Otherwise it gets boring.”
And Truckee knows what it’s like to be on both sides of a blowout, as it fell to Incline in three straight games on Sept. 16 on the road.
“We should have picked it up, but we have to forget about that one,” said senior Alisa Garrison, who looked disappointed when asked about the Incline loss. “They’re a good team, and they have some strong hitters, but we should have picked it up in that one. That was a team whoops.”
It was a team whoops that gave Truckee its first league loss against a Highlanders team that is new to 3A competition in 2004 after moving up from 2A.
“We just weren’t bringing the intensity,” said Garrison, Truckee’s tallest player at 5 feet 11 inches. “I was tired, and I think a lot of the other girls were tired.”
Garrison rebounded nicely to have six kills and four blocks in the Sparks match.
Shane said that she could see a letdown coming judging from the way her team had played in the days preceding the Incline matchup.
“It was that way all week,” she said. “We didn’t practice well (the day before the match); we didn’t really play well against Fernley, but it didn’t show because Fernley’s not that strong.”
Truckee would beat Fernley 3-0, but its lackadaisical play would be precursor to an Incline match in which the Highlanders took advantage of Truckee’s lack of passion.
“Incline’s got a good team with a couple of big hitters, and we were just slow,” Shane said. “We were kind of playing at half-speed. It was odd.”
Garrison said Dayton will be Truckee’s toughest opponent coming up, but she said the key to the team’s success is to stay together.
“We just need to pump it up and talk to each other,” she said, “because that’s when we play the best.”
[The Truckee varsity volleyball team plays two matches at Lowry this weekend, one today (Sept. 24) and one on Saturday.]
“My team plays better against a team that plays similar volleyball ” pass, hit, hit. A team that scrambles a little more and is a little more scrappy tends to set us off our pace; so we start playing their game, instead of sticking with ours.”