TRUCKEE, Calif. — In a match filled with drastic momentum swings, the Truckee volleyball team used a hot start and clutch finish to hold off a resilient Fallon squad in four games Wednesday, 25-15, 25-20, 13-25, 25-22.
The Wolverines (5-6) were in control early, jumping out to a quick lead behind the attack of Mackenzie Redner, Mel Jones, Chelsea Mohun and Lauren Peak and never trailing en route to a 10-point win in the first set.
But Fallon (3-3) was just warming up. The Greenwave, thanks to an effective block in the middle and a generally scrappy defense that increasingly frustrated Truckee's offense, turned Game 2 into a barn burner.
The set featured 14 ties and seven lead changes, the last of which came when Truckee knotted the score at 17. The Wolverines then outscored Fallon 8-3 to earn the hard-fought victory, and a what seemed to be a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
After falling behind 2-0 to start the third set, however, the Greenwave stormed back with the next three points to take over the lead — and they never relinquished it. Fallon's Cady Cordes, Evan Matheson, Mary Scholz and Tyrie Nunes played big at the net, while setter Ali Tedford and libero Mackenzie Dahl were all over the court.
The Wolverines called a couple of timeouts to stop the bleeding, but they never recovered as Fallon used a 7-0 run to extend its lead from 14-11 to 21-11 before closing it out.
“Fallon played phenomenal defense. They did not let us get kills. We had to earn it,” said Truckee head coach Erika Murphy, who also lamented the number of unforced errors by her team, particularly service errors. “They had a good block in the middle, and their libero was super quick.”
It didn't help that Truckee's biggest hitter, Redner, sat out much of the set.
“We had to give her a break,” Murphy said of Redner, who finished with a match-high 19 kills. “She takes a lot of swings.”
Patty Daum, head coach of the Greenwave, said she thought her team turned the momentum of the match in the third set simply by playing a more cerebral game.
“They just started playing smarter,” she said. “They were running in on the block and making smart sets, finding mismatches. They played hard and prepared hard all week.”
Fallon carried its momentum into the fourth set, taking an early 3-1 lead and extending it to 14-6 with another 7-0 run. But the Wolverines, who went back to Redner to provide offense, put a sudden halt to the run, then started their own.
Truckee scored the next five points, shaving the lead to 14-11 and prompting a Fallon timeout. After the timeout, Truckee rattled off five more unanswered points behind the serve of senior setter Gabby Moretti to take over the lead at 16-14.
The Greenwave tied the score at 16 before Truckee senior Mel Jones converted a kill and Redner followed with another. The home team then outscored Fallon down the stretch, using several more Redner kills to end the match, 25-22.
“They were so good on defense. We weren't expecting that,” said Moretti, who tallied 42 assists to go along with her 23 service points and 10 aces. “But we were motivated to keep going and keep playing hard. We didn't want it to go to a Game 5.”
Jones finished with eight kills, while Peak had five and Mohun and Becca Berelson each had four. Truckee libero Kestlie Stefanelli posted a team-high 20 digs and Redner had 13. Fallon stats were not available.
UP NEXT: Truckee plays at Elko on Friday and Spring Creek on Saturday.