STMS howls about latest volleyball court championship
South Tahoe Middle School captured first place while Kingsbury Middle School finished fourth in the Optimist Eighth-Grade Girls Volleyball Tournament on February 1-2 at South Tahoe Middle School.
In the seventh-grade tournament at Kahle Community Center the same weekend, South Tahoe took second and Kingsbury third.
The tournament fields included Eagle Valley, Carson, Carson Valley Junior High, Fallon, Incline, Lovelock, North Tahoe, Foresthill and Fernley.
South Tahoe eighth-grade coach Janae Nead divided her team in half to form Gold and Blue teams. During pool play, the Gold team finished third in Pool 1 while the Blue squad was sixth in Pool 2.
Saturday’s tournament bracket saw the two South Tahoe teams playing each other, with the Gold team prevailing in two games. While the Blue team went into the consolation division, the Gold club began its drive to the championship.
The Gold next drew league rival Carson Valley. South Tahoe won in two straight games, setting up a match with Pool 1 winner, perennial powerhouse Fallon. In an exciting match, South Tahoe prevailed in three games, 15-12, 10-15, 15-12, thrusting the Timberwolves into a showdown with Carson Middle School for the title.
In the championship match, strong serving and net play by Monica Knight and Luana Brinkley and solid play from setters Stephanie Morrow, Sybil Robinson; middles Dana Jensen and Kayla Knapp; and defensive specialists Devin Maher and Courtney Blann propelled South Tahoe to the title, 15-13, 15-4.
Kingsbury, the smallest school in the tournament with a student enrollment of 195, demonstrated that it plays big-time volleyball by finishing fourth. The Knights also ended up third in Friday’s pool play behind Carson Valley and Carson Middle School and ahead of South Tahoe Blue, Lovelock and Foresthill.
The Knights started Saturday’s tournament by defeating Fernley in two games, setting up a rematch with Incline. Incline had already defeated KMS in league play in a close three-game match.
However, the Knights prevailed in this one, 15-12, 15-17, 17-15 in one of the most exciting matches in the tournament, sending them into a semifinal match with Carson.
But the Senators denied KMS’s bid to set up an all South Shore final by besting the Knights in two well-fought games, 15-12, 15-13. Kingsbury then dropped the third-place match to Fallon.
The Knights were led by Katrina Kacirek’s all-around play; Meri Johnson’s serving and net play; Katie Komoroski’s net play; and Sarah Ingenluyff, Christina Richardson and Tara Scaduto’s setting. Also contributing to the effort were Rikki Barron, Rachelle Faedi, Stacy Flores, Hannah Harris, Emma Johnson Jayme Lowe and Taylor Thomas.
The rest of the field finished as follows: Eagle Valley fifth, Foresthill sixth, Incline seventh, Carson Valley eighth, North Tahoe and Lovelock ninth and South Tahoe Blue and Fernley 11th.
In the seventh-grade division, Eagle Valley finished first with South Tahoe second and Kingsbury third. Eagle Valley won the pool play, Kingsbury was second and South Tahoe third.
South Tahoe reversed the order during the tournament portion by defeating KMS in the semifinals before losing to Eagle Valley in the title match. KMS defeated Carson Middle School in the third-place match. Carson Valley finished fifth with Lovelock sixth.
South Tahoe was led by setters Shaylene McLaughlin, Christina Urreaga, Kera Cuningham and Allison Bachelder. Rounding out the successful team were Audrey Kenyon, Sarah Anderson, Kasey Olin, Bekah Owen, Mary Kurek, Kelsey McClurg, Jessica Niebauer, Christina Baghdikian and Jessica Mason.
Jessica Woods and Kelly Karman led the Knights, who also were represented by Megan Alexander, Ashley Amaral, Kerry Dunleavy, Karen Flores, Kate Greenspan, Sarah Hartley, Abby Kingman, Ashley Makara, Brittany Makara, Marissa McKool, Sharyn Rodriquez, Karli Vath and Cyndi Villascea.
The tournament is annually contested in the first weekend of February and is one of three middle school athletic tournaments the South Tahoe Optimist Club hosts. The others are the eighth-grade boys and the eighth-grade girls basketball tournaments.