Unbelievable ‘Knight’ for Douglas | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Unbelievable ‘Knight’ for Douglas

Joey Crandall

MINDEN – Pit the No. 1- and No. 3-ranked teams in the region in a league match and this is what you’re bound to get.

The Douglas High volleyball team outlasted South Tahoe ON Thursday night, taking a hard-fought 25-21, 21-25, 25-22, 25-20 win against the Vikings that, as hard as it might be to believe, was even closer than the scores indicated.

“I have no problem whatsoever of us losing this game tonight,” said STHS coach Gary Hankoff. “It was an even match. There is a very good chance that Douglas will be undefeated when we play them again (on Oct. 18). They hit the ball well tonight and we didn’t.”

Both squads exhibited plenty of hustle and fought numerous marathon points to six or seven trips over the net. South Tahoe benefited from its strong service game all night, getting 12 aces. Douglas, on the other hand, spent most of its energy at the net, getting 45 kills and 15 blocks as a team.

The Vikings jumped out to a 9-4 lead early on, mostly building off Douglas errors and some solid blocking from Stephanie Morrow, Dana Jensen and Jessica Bettencourt.

Douglas’ first kill came nearly 10 minutes into the match as Katy Marsh set up Dawson Joyce-Mendive to cut the lead to 9-5.

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The squads battled back and forth through the rest of the game before Douglas stole the momentum with kills from Whitney Estes and Monica Knight to take a 22-18 lead and hold on from there.

South Tahoe came right back in the next game, trading punches with the Tigers until pushing ahead with kills from Bettencourt, Jensen, an ace from Coral Warren and a block from Shaylene McLaughlin.

The Vikings clinched the game with some scrappy play all over the floor, battling many of the late points to great length and making a number of incredible saves. Jensen finished with a game-high 21 digs and McLaughlin had 14 digs. Three other Vikings recorded double-digit digs.

South Tahoe rode the momentum from the second game to take a 19-14 lead in game three, but Douglas recovered to go on an 11-3 run to close out the game with five kills and two aces. The Tigers tied the game on a particularly impressive 6-1 run.

The final game was more of the same – each team taking its miniruns and taking turns holding onto the momentum.

Douglas closed it all out with four Knight kills, an ace from Megan Myers and a kill from Alex Risko on match points. Knight finished the match with 14 kills against her former school while Joyce-Mendive had 10 kills, Whitney Estes had nine, Shariece Steel had five and Risko had four.

Myers contributed three kills, two assists, four blocks and two aces. Katy Marsh had 38 assists for the Tigers.

The Vikings were led by a balanced front of Jensen (11 kills), Bettencourt (nine kills) and Warren (seven kills) and got an additional four aces from Bettencourt. Stephanie Morrow dished out 19 assists for South Tahoe.

“Today we lost to a very good team, but we also played really well,” Hankoff said. “For whatever reason, we weren’t hitting the ball tonight. But because we dug the ball so well, I think we would’ve won had we played better on offense.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune sportswriter Jeremy Evans contributed to this report.