South Tahoe rebounds from Galena loss, sweeps Fallon | TahoeDailyTribune.com

South Tahoe rebounds from Galena loss, sweeps Fallon

Steve Ranson

Tribune News Service South Tahoe setter Stephanie Morrow, right, goes up for a play at the net during Thursday's non-league match in Fallon. The Vikings won in straight sets, rebounding from Tuesday's loss to defending state champion Galena at STHS.

Tribune News Service

FALLON – The South Tahoe Vikings discovered that effective communication is just as good as sound defense when playing volleyball in the Northern 4A.

South Tahoe played a near perfect match Thursday by shocking the Lady Wave with a three-set sweep at Churchill County High School, 25-18, 25-19 and 25-16.

Fallon (1-1) had difficulty controlling South Tahoe’s front row and were frustrated by the Vikings’ execution on defense. Coach Gary Hankoff wasn’t surprised with how his team played against one of the top programs in Northern Nevada.

“I’m not surprised we dominated them,” said Hankoff, who team improved to 8-2. “We’re capable of playing with anyone.”

Hankoff praised the defense and how his players prevented Fallon from mounting any sustained runs. The Vikings moved well in the middle as the team’s quartet of Hilary Santana, Christina Baghdikian, Jessica Bettencourt and Dana Jensen combined for 59 digs.

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“If we do our job on defense, we will be fine,” Hankoff said.

Fallon led only once in the first set, 2-1, before South Tahoe began to win the battle at the net with a taller lineup. Bettencourt and Jensen, who each stand 5-foot-11, dictated the tempo of play at the net. They also complemented each other on defense.

Both players rattled Fallon with their well placed kills and blocked shots that gave South Tahoe a modest run.

Bettencourt had eight kills and Jensen recorded a match-high 13. Bettencourt said the team wasn’t going to allow Fallon to dictate the play like Galena did against the Vikings earlier this week. She noted that communication was also important.

“We focused on our serving,” Bettencourt said. “We made this game about passing. We also made a huge goal to talk during and after every play. We communicated on our serving.”

Fallon coach Nathan Hallett attributed some of the Greenwave’s problems to a lackluster approach to the game. Hallett also felt South Tahoe defeated Fallon in every aspect of the game.

“We can all be good volleyball players, but we’re not concentrating,” he said. “They dug well and their outside hitters didn’t have more than one or two mistakes.”

The second set went back and forth for the first four points. With the set tied at 4, South Tahoe put together a modest run to double the score, 12-6. Shaylene McLaughlin and Jensen provided South Tahoe with some solid serving. During one stretch, McLaughlin recorded eight straight points, while Jensen accounted for four points.

Fallon, though, made a modest run with Whitney Adams serving. The Greenwave sliced the lead to 16-13, but the Vikings pulled away on a 9-6 run. Caroline Baghdikian’s kill ended the second set for a South Tahoe win.

South Tahoe played stronger as the match progressed. In the third set, the Vikings led from start to finish, relying on either Fallon making unforced errors or the Vikings playing smart at the net.

“We got into their heads,” Jensen said. “They were making unforced errors.”

Jensen said with Bettencourt and Stephanie Morrow in the front row, South Tahoe mixed it up and caught Fallon off guard.