TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Dust Devils could have used their big hitter in Wednesday's Division I-A volleyball match.
With Dayton struggling in the absence of junior standout Madison Foley, the three-time defending state champion Wolverines made quick work of the visitors with a win in straight sets, 25-16, 25-13 and 25-17.
The Wolverines did have their big hitter, junior outside hitter Mackenzie Redner, and they went to her often as they pulled away from the Dust Devils down the stretch of each set. Redner finished with a match-high 15 kills, which equaled Dayton's total as a team.
Mel Jones added seven kills and Chelsea Mohun five, while Truckee tallied 32 kills as a team. Senior setter Gabby Moretti was in on almost every one, finishing with 31 assists. Dayton had 11 assists total.
But it was the Wolverines' serving game that impressed head coach Erika Murphy most, highlighted by the three service aces apiece from Jones, Redner and Moretti.
“Our serving was much better tonight,” Murphy said. “It was like a first attack for us because it was disruptive. It was not letting them run the offense they wanted.”
Game 1 remained tight early before Dayton scored six straight points take its largest lead of the match, at 9-4. Truckee steadily cut into the lead until knotting the score at 12 and then outscored the Dust Devils 13-3 to earn the win.
Truckee never trailed in the second set, which was tied 6-6 until the Wolverines used a 5-0 run to stretch their lead to 11-7, then a 4-0 run to extend it to 15-7. Truckee ended the game on a 6-0 run as the Dust Devils began committing more unforced errors with regularity.
To their credit, the Dust Devils played the Wolverines tough in the first half of the third set, which remained closely contested with eight ties and five lead changes. But Truckee took over the lead for the final time at 15-14 and never looked back as it outscored Dayton 10-3 to close it out.
“Their coach always has them very disciplined. They're always a disciplined team,” Murphy said of the Dust Devils. “I like to play them.”
Dayton head coach Monica Halvorson said she thought her team played well without its top player, despite the outcome.
“I think everybody did a good job stepping up blocking, but we need to be more of a finishing team,” Halvorson said. “We set it up, and then something happens and we don't finish it.”
Murphy complemented the play of Mohun, whom she moved from middle blocker to the right side. “Chelsea had some really good hits,” she said.
Truckee libero Kestlie Stefanelli finished with 18 digs, and Mohun had nine. For the Dust Devils, Taryn Schriner and Ashley Vickers each had five kills to lead the way.
After starting the season 16-1, Dayton has lost three straight to fall to 16-4 overall. Halvorson said Foley, the Dust Devils' kills leader, sprained her ankle last week in a loss at South Tahoe. She expects her to return next week.
Truckee is streaking in the opposite direction with six consecutive wins. After losing to a number of large schools in the season-opening High Sierra Tournament, the Wolverines are now 8-6 overall.
UP NEXT: Truckee will once again face off against schools several times its size at the Davis (Calif.) Varsity Tournament on Saturday. The Wolverines then host Whittell on Tuesday at 6 p.m.