South Tahoe volleyball prepares for playoffs in three-set loss to league champion Truckee |

South Tahoe volleyball prepares for playoffs in three-set loss to league champion Truckee

Anthony Gentile
South Tahoe senior Nora Anderson goes up for a kill with teammate Ashley Bricker looking on in the Vikings’ Div. I-A Northern League match against Truckee on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Blue Gym.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe volleyball team didn’t take a set off rival Truckee on Tuesday, Oct. 27, but it accomplished what it set out to against the league champions. The Vikings lost to the Wolverines in three sets 15-25, 16-25, 22-25 at the Blue Gym, showing in the process it can compete with the top team in the league.

“We’re a team that’s peaking,” Vikings coach Dan McLaughlin said. “We as coaches are trying to get them to a point where they can win in the playoffs, and tonight was a big step forward — it’s very, very positive for us.”

South Tahoe (9-8, 8-7 I-A Northern) played the Wolverines close in the third set after dropping the first two frames. The Vikings took a 15-14 lead on an ace from Kaitlynn Watson before Truckee (22-8, 15-0) answered with five straight points.

The Vikings pulled within one at 22-21 later in the frame, but the Wolverines won three of the next four points to close out the match. A kill from Maia Dvoracek secured the sweep for Truckee. The win allowed the visitors to lock up an outright league championship, but South Tahoe didn’t leave the match unhappy.

“I think that’s the best we’ve played as a team,” Vikings senior Lexi Steinbergs said. “We knew we had to fight for this match if we really wanted it. The fact that we fought and it actually worked makes us believe in ourselves more.”

In the second meeting between the teams, South Tahoe focused on hard serves and timing its block correctly — and McLaughlin was pleased with both areas of emphasis. The Vikings’ serves kept Truckee out of its offensive system for a large portion of the match.

“We are not completely ready to handle the out-of-system balls. We knew what they were going to do, but the players are just not quite experienced enough to see it,” McLaughlin said. “If we can keep teams out of system, we can go a long way.”

Truckee went away from Watson in attack, and for the first time this season the senior libero didn’t lead the Vikings in digs. Watson had 12 to go along with two aces, while Ashley Bricker finished with a team-high 15, Novel Moses totaled nine and Nora Anderson added six.

“Usually (Kaitlynn) leads the world in digs, she’s one of the best there is,” McLaughlin said. “But they hit away from her — they hit inside, down the line and we just need to learn how to deal with that.”

South Tahoe will finish fifth in Div. I-A Northern League, with a likely meeting against Fallon in the quarterfinals of the regional championship. A win over the Greenwave would set up a rematch with top-seeded Truckee.

“If we play how we played today, we definitely could upset someone,” Steinbergs said. “We are a team and we’re going to do really well in the playoffs — we hope for the best.”

The Vikings concluded the regular season Thursday, Oct. 29, against Fernley. The Div. I-A Northern Region tournament begins Friday, Nov. 6, at Truckee.

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