South Tahoe volleyball beats Fernley in 4 |

South Tahoe volleyball beats Fernley in 4

Anthony Gentile
South Tahoe outside hitter Shayla Osborne prepares to serve during the Vikings’ four-set win over Fernley on Wednesday night.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

The South Tahoe volleyball team struggled for stretches Wednesday night — but overcame the rough patches to produce a victory. The Vikings beat visiting Fernley in four sets 25-12, 20-25, 25-18, 25-14 to remain tied for the last playoff spot in Div. I-A Northern League.

“We were able to keep our emotions defensively,” Vikings head coach Dan McLaughlin said. “We kept playing defense, and eventually we started getting the swings and the kills that we needed.”

South Tahoe (16-13, 8-6 I-A Northern) closed out the first set on a 10-2 run — including five straight points on the serve of outside hitter Shayla Osborne — to take the early lead. The Vikings had a 17-15 lead late in the second set, then unraveled and allowed Fernley (5-21, 2-12) to tie the match.

“The second set was one of the worst sets we’ve played all season long,” McLaughlin said. “Fernley hit the ball into the court and played safe — we didn’t hit, we didn’t take chances, we didn’t use our heads and we didn’t make the plays we needed to.”

The Vaqueros scored five straight points to take a 20-17 lead in the second set, and four of their last five points came on South Tahoe errors. The Vikings had to regroup quickly, and outside hitter Kendhyl Delacour made sure they did — the senior had seven kills in the first 13 points of the third set, and South Tahoe stayed in front after opening the frame on a 10-3 run.

“Kendhyl came back to us — and when Kendhyl started going off, I knew we were going to be in good shape,” McLaughlin said. “When Kendhyl starting hitting, they had no answer.”

The Vikings began the fourth set with an identical 10-3 run, then scored five straight points with a 15-10 lead to close out the frame and win the match. Delacour had 17 of her match-high 22 kills in the last two sets and made only two hitting errors as South Tahoe rolled to victory.

South Tahoe survived its offensive struggles Wednesday with defense and solid serving. Libero Kaitlynn Watson anchored the Vikings’ defense and finished with five aces.

“Kaitlynn had a phenomenal game — she was the glue that held us together,” McLaughlin said.

Osborne was another defensive standout against Fernley. Despite offensive struggles throughout the match, the junior never let it affect her play defensively.

“We got in trouble when we had to scramble and got confused, but when it came to passing the serve and digging balls we were very good,” McLaughlin said. “This was a game against a team that we had to beat.”

With two matches to play in the regular season, South Tahoe is tied with Dayton for the league’s last playoff spot. The Vikings play at second-place Lowry on Saturday and host third-place Truckee next Thursday; the Dustdevils take on sixth-place Fallon on Friday and host eighth-place Fernley next Thursday.

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