RENO — Compared to his team’s normal ‘A’ game, Coronado girls volleyball coach Matt Johnson gave the Cougars a ‘B’ for their state semifinal win over Carson.
Sometimes, good enough is good enough.
Senior middle hitter Berkeley Oblad had 17 kills, and outside hitter Carolyn Andrulis added 15 as Coronado overcame a stiff challenge by Carson for a 25-21, 25-15, 23-25, 25-13 victory at Galena.
Coronado (33-7) will face Shadow Ridge (26-9) in the championship match at 2 p.m. today.
“A lot of the ‘B’ comes from what they did to us and putting us in some tough situations,” Johnson said. “Carson is scrappy, and they did some things that we weren’t expecting.”
Luckily, the Cougars have the University of Utah-bound Oblad. Carson structured its front-row defense to try to stop her, giving Andrulis room to hit off the edge, while Oblad several times scored by controlling 50-50 balls at the net.
“The middle is our strength, but they served us tough and they took us out of our middle attack, so credit to them for doing that,” Johnson said. “I would do that against us. I’m just happy we got out of there with a win.”
Carson (18-10) tried to baffle the Cougars with a rotating attack to try to give its hitters clearer shots and make Oblad guess where shots were coming from.
Setter Cali Thompson dished out 53 assists, and Navi Lee led the defense with 13 digs.
In the other semifinal, Shadow Ridge defeated Douglas, 25-23, 17-25, 25-17, 25-18.
After struggling for most of the first two sets, it was a completely different Shadow Ridge team that took the floor for the third set, and the key was a return to the basics, coach Karissa Guthrie said,
“We just kept preaching to our team to come together as a team, to communicate a little bit more, to work a little harder, and they did,” coach Karissa Guthrie said. “We did talk a little about cleaning up our side of the court, but as far as adjustments for Douglas, no. You’ve got to pass a ball, you’ve got to set a ball, you’ve got to hit a ball. It’s a pretty simple game.”
Ashley Smith had 22 kills and 23 digs for Shadow Ridge. Chloe Gruwell added 12 kills and 10 digs, and Eadara Files dished out 45 assists for the Mustangs, who got 17 digs from Caitlin Pascal.
Shadow Ridge defeated Coronado in five sets in a nonleague match in September, but Guthrie said that wins means nothing.
“Back then it was another win in our season,” Guthrie said. “We didn’t put too much into who it was, we just go into each matching looking for that win, and we got that win and moved on to the next one. It’s going to be a dogfight, which is what a state championship should be.”
Faith Lutheran’s winning recipe starts with serving, coach Amy Fisher said.
Add a dash of defense, a spoonful of experience and mix with hard work, and the Crusaders have a complete mix that has them a win away from their second consecutive state title.
Faith Lutheran defeated Truckee 25-12, 25-14, 25-19 in a state semifinal match Friday, and will face Sierra Vista at 10 a.m. today in the Division I-A championship match.
Sierra Vista needed five sets to get past Elko in the other semifinal, 25-16, 26-24, 14-25, 15-25, 15-13.
In the first semifinal, Truckee (18-15) mounted just one serious challenge against Faith Lutheran (27-13), taking a 14-12 lead in the second set. Then Bobbi Tharaldson stepped to the service line.
With Tharaldson serving, the Crusaders scored 13 consecutive points, and they maintained a working margin throughout the third set.
“When you have tough serves and put constant pressure on the other team and have some free balls, along with some really good defense on our side, and hard work and good luck, I think those things make a huge difference,” Fisher said.
Cayla Nikodemus led the Crusaders with 13 kills and three blocks, Tharaldson added six kills and Megan Kronschnabel had 37 assists.
For a set and a half, Sierra Vista (22-10) was dominant over Elko (24-6). But after losing the third and fourth sets, the Mountain Lions had to regroup in the fifth to earn a trip to the title match.
“I think it was just the players’ decision to do what you gotta do,” Sierra Vista coach Camille McComas said.
The Mountain Lions got back to feeding the ball to Bailey Bergquist, and she responded with 17 kills, including one in the fifth set that gave Sierra Vista a 7-6 lead it never relinquished.
Faith Lutheran and Sierra Vista have met four times this season, with the Crusaders winning each time.
“It’s up to us and what we do, and if we take care of business and play the way I know we can, we should be successful,” Fisher said.
“We’re thrilled to be here and we’re hoping we can give Faith a run for their money,” McComas said.
White Pine will face Yerington for the Division III state title at noon today.
Yerington (35-2) was a 25-18, 26-24, 25-19 winner over The Meadows in one semifinal.
Brooke Brennan had five kills 17 digs and three aces, and Dani Otter added five kills and eight digs for the Mustangs (20-14). Missy Siegel had 14 assists, 10 digs and two aces for The Meadows.
The Bobcats (25-5) outlasted Incline (11-8) in the other semifinal, 16-25, 26-24, 25-23, 14-25, 15-13.