Tahoe takes the border war
It was the battle for South Shore volleyball pride Wednesday night. South Tahoe crossed the border to take on Whittell in the annual match between the two high schools.
Whittell came into the match with a superior record and a legitimate shot at winning the 2A state title, while South Tahoe entered Wednesday’s action sitting in fourth-placetie with Wooster in the 4A.
On paper, it looked to be a pretty competitive match. But South Tahoe triumphed in four games, 4-15, 16-14, 15-12, 15-9, wearing down the Warriors in the final two games.
In the first game, Whittell dominated the Vikings, beating them with strong hits and good defense.
“I think we got too high early,” Whittell outside hitter Shannon McGlothlin said. “Then we crashed and couldn’t make it back up.”
The second game was the turning point for the whole match. The two teams battled to a 16-14 game with numerous rallies and hard-fought points. South Tahoe came out on top with a final rally and wrestled the momentum away from the Warriors.
“I thought we were losing that second game,” Vikings coach Gary Hankoff said. “You could feel it in the whole gym when we won that game.”
The Vikings won the third game with good defense and the powerful outside game of Rachel Hankoff, who induced numerous sideouts and points with her kills.
“I was just concentrating on staying back and swinging hard,” the sophomore said. “I just wanted to kill the ball when I was hitting it.”
The Vikings jumped out early in the final game, going up 10-4 before the Warriors came charging back. Whittell rode the strong serving and good defense to tie pull closer.
The Vikings, however, just wouldn’t surrender the lead and eventually won 15-9.
While the showdown wasn’t a league match for either squad, both coaches wanted to win and had the utmost respect for their opponents.
“South Tahoe is a good team,” Warrior head coach Dan McLaughlin said. “We just didn’t get the breaks at the right time and they did.
“If we can play this way against South Tahoe, then we have a great chance at state and the rest of league.”
Hankoff said the Warriors played the best defense his team has seen all season.
“Those kids dug most of our hits,” the coach said. “They got some impossible digs. It was like a pinball machine with some of their hits.”
The Warriors were led by McGlothlin with eight kills, nine points, one ace and three blocks. Ashley Berns had a terrific game with nine kills, three points, one ace and eight blocks.
The “Magician” Carlye Johnson had two kills, three points, with 30 assists. Joeleene Brinkley turned in a solid performance with 16 points and one ace.
South Tahoe stats were unavailable at press time.
The Warriors travel to Lovelock for their next league match on Friday. The match is an important because if the Warriors win, all the teams in the league will have two losses, opening the door for the Warriors to take the league.
“We should be in the driver’s seat if we win at Lovelock,” McLaughlin said.
The Vikings had two very tough matches sandwiched around the game at Whittell. South Tahoe lost at Wooster on Tuesday and travel to Carson today.
“This game gives us the confidence we needed,” Rachel Hankoff said. “Now we need to go get Carson (today).”
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