Vikings put a broom to the Senators
Neither South Tahoe High coach Gary Hankoff nor Carson coach Shana Wilkins were happy with how their teams played Tuesday night. Hankoff said his offense didn’t seem comfortable. Wilkins, meanwhile, wasn’t pleased with her team’s passing.
That left defense as the lone catalyst for victory and, unfortunately for the Senators, the Vikings are one of the best defensive teams in the Northern 4A. South Tahoe used solid defense and several timely hits in a 25-20, 25-20, 25-22 win at South Tahoe High School’s Gold Gymnasium.
It was the Vikings’ first win at home this season. South Tahoe (16-7 overall, 4-1 division) remains in second place in the division standings behind first-place Douglas. The Senators (9-6, 3-2) remain in a tie for third.
“We played like crap,” Wilkins said. “Plain and simple, we didn’t do well at all. I don’t think we were able to give them that good of a match. We usually pass better than that. We weren’t able to hit hardly ever so we had to rely on our defense. And their defense is better than our defense.”
In the first game, South Tahoe never trailed and used six straight service points from junior Christina Baghdikian to open an 18-8 lead. Carson, though, countered by scoring eight of the next 11 points to make it 21-16. But the Vikings followed with several key plays on defense, then used setter Stephanie Morrow’s kill down the line to seal the five-point victory.
Early in the second game, the Senators had the momentum, opening up a 7-3 lead aided by five unforced errors from the Vikings. Later in the match, Baghdikian had a block and kill to even the score at 12.
Nikki Karetov’s ace made it 14-13 and South Tahoe never trailed again. Jessica Bettencourt had two impressive kills that scored the Vikings’ final two points.
“I believe in my team 100 percent,” Baghdikian said. “No matter what happens in any match, I believe we can play through it. The attitude on the court today was sensational. They’re a good team, but when we step on that court, there is no difference on who’s out there. We can get it done.”
The third game involved nine ties and five lead changes. Carson led 13-12 after two Catherine Brekken aces and a Nicole Scott kill. Brekken finished with 13 digs and Michelle Raponi had a team-high 21 digs for the Senators, whose final lead was 19-18 after a kill from freshman Sandie Howard.
The Vikings used a Bettencourt kill and a Hillary Santana ace to regain the lead 20-19 before Baghdikian added three more kills en route to the 25-22 victory. Bettencourt recorded four service points during a run that saw the Vikings turn a 21-20 lead into a 24-20 advantage.
“We didn’t play our best volleyball tonight,” Hankoff said. “It seemed like we were really uncomfortable hitting the ball tonight, but I think we were a little bit intimidated by Carson’s blocks. They were big and they touched everything.
“What surprised me is I thought their ball control really hurt them. They have some bangers, but their passing didn’t allow them to utilize their size. I like the way we played through it.”
South Tahoe hosts North Valleys on Thursday at 6 p.m.