Powered by pretzels, South Tahoe volleyball sweeps Fernley for first home win
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — After a fast start against Fernley, the South Tahoe volleyball team struggled in the second set. Late in that stanza, the Vikings turned to a secret weapon to help complete the comeback.
With the Vikings trailing 17-15, head coach Kelly Racca pulled out a bag of pretzels during a timeout. The team obliged, and took the court still chewing as senior Zoe Mosedale stepped to the service line.
“I always have food, and every time I feel the energy waning I bring it out,” Racca said. “The girls are very food-motivated — suddenly they get something in them, and their energy perks up.
“We needed some energy, so I had to break them out.”
Mosedale served an ace as part of five straight points for South Tahoe following the snack. That run propelled the Vikings to take the second set as part of a 25-9, 25-20, 25-18 sweep of the Vaqueros on Monday, Oct. 3, at the Blue Gym.
South Tahoe (13-4, 6-2 3A Northern) wrapped up the first round of league play with a sweep characterized by up-and-down play. The Vikings handled Fernley (4-10, 2-6) with ease in the opening frame before battling through challenging second and third sets to notch their first home win of the season.
The Vikings jumped in front early in the first set, and broke it open with an 11-2 run to take a commanding 17-5 lead. South Tahoe claimed the opening frame in lopsided fashion, and appeared on its way to an easy sweep.
“We were having fun and we were all jelling together,” Vikings junior Novel Moses said. “We were playing really well together.”
The hosts ultimately beat Fernley in three sets. But it wasn’t so straightforward.
“We came into it with high energy, and then we beat them by a ton of points so we went a little easier,” STHS junior McKenna Brewer said. “We underestimated it.”
South Tahoe led 5-4 in the second set — then Fernley won eight of the next nine points. Seven of the Vaqueros’ points on the 8-1 run came via Vikings errors, allowing the visitors to take a 12-6 lead.
“We weren’t playing our pace and we weren’t playing our game — it slowed way down,” Racca said.
The Vikings chipped away at that six-point deficit, but still trailed 17-13 late in the second set. A kill from Mosedale and block from Brewer brought South Tahoe within two points, and Fernley decided to stop the momentum with a timeout — that’s when the pretzels came out.
“That might have been the difference maker in the second game when the energy was fading,” Racca joked. “It was pretzel time.”
South Tahoe scored seven straight points around the timeout to take a 20-17 lead before taking the set 25-20. In the third set, the Vikings broke a 4-4 tie with five straight points on Vaqueros errors — and didn’t trail the rest of the way to complete the sweep.
“We knew throughout each game that we could do it and that we were going to do it,” Moses said. “We just had to push a little further.”
Mosedale had 16 assists, five kills and four aces Monday, and Brewer finished with a team-high eight kills and six blocks (five solo) to go along with an ace. Moses tallied five kills, two aces and passed at a 2.625 while senior Ashley Bricker finished with 10 digs and four aces.
“This is a great segue into the second half of the season where we have more home games,” Racca said. “They can come in with the confidence that they can own this court like we do every day in practice.”
Halfway through league play, South Tahoe is in third place behind one-loss Fallon and undefeated Truckee. The Vikings have five home matches in the second round of league play, and are in good position to make a second straight postseason appearance.
“We’ve built up the momentum to go to state, now we just have to finish it,” Vikings senior Brynna Hembree said. “We just have to stay close. If we’re close off the court then we’re close on the court — it’s not six players, it’s one group together.”
South Tahoe opens the second round of league play with a home match against Elko on Friday, Oct. 7, at 6 p.m. The Vikings host Spring Creek in the Blue Gym the following afternoon — first serve is at noon.