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STATE VOLLEYBALL: Deficits can’t derail Faith Lutheran run

Good volleyball teams know how to step things up in the face of adversity, and Faith Lutheran girls coach Amy Fisher thinks she’s got a pretty good team.

The Crusaders reinforced that belief Friday by overcoming significant deficits in the second and third sets to defeat Truckee 25-19, 25-20, 25-21 in the semifinals of the Division I-A state tournament at Green Valley.

Cayla Nikodemus had 20 kills and seven digs to lead Faith Lutheran, which will play Dayton in the championship match at noon Saturday.

“We practice playing in deficits,” Fisher said. “So that was common for us.”

Faith Lutheran took control early in the first set. Nikodemus’ kill gave the Crusaders a 3-2 lead, and they led the rest of the way.

But the Wolverines jumped to a 4-0 lead in the second set and led until Courtney Hansen served an ace to tie the score at 13. Truckee held on and led 19-18 before Hansen took over by scoring four of the Crusaders’ final five points on impressive kills.

The Wolverines again established the tempo in the third set, grabbing a quick 6-1 lead. But Faith Lutheran tied it with its own 6-1 scoring run, and the score stayed close throughout the remainder of the set. Morgan Hill’s back-to-back kills gave the Crusaders a 15-14 lead, and Nikodemus followed with an emphatic hit that helped Faith Lutheran begin pulling away.

“We told the kids not to anticipate winning in three sets,” Fisher said. “Truckee is a good team. But one of the things we do well is run the middle attack. Lots of teams at the high school level don’t usually deal with that.”

Hill finished with 12 kills and two blocks to help Faith Lutheran, and Hansen added 15 kills and 14 digs.

Mackenzie Redner led Truckee with 10 kills, two blocks and an ace.

Dayton 3, Boulder City 0 — Madi Foley had 21 kills and six digs to lead the Dust Devils, who slowly wore the Eagles down on the way to a 25-20, 25-18, 25-13 win.

Dayton coach Monica Halverson said the convincing win was more than she expected.

“I thought it would be much more intense than that,” she said. “My team is pretty deep. They kind of took things from the get-go and ran with it.”

Boulder City put up some resistance in the second set, closing the deficit to 15-13. But Dayton recovered and dominated the rest of the way.

The Eagles unraveled in the third set, and the Dust Devils won it on an ace by Foley.

Ashley Vickers helped Dayton with eight kills, and teammate Peach Coons added 23 assists, five digs and four aces.

Boulder City was led by Whitney Barlow (20 kills), Alyssa Ybarra (15 digs), and Kendall Miller (18 assists).

DIVISION III

The Division III volleyball state semifinal match featuring Pershing County and Calvary Chapel could have been dubbed the Melissa Gonzalez and Deja Harris show.

“It was the story of two hitters in this game,” Calvary Chapel coach Nick Davis said. “It was Melissa Gonzalez against Deja Harris for the most part.”

Led by Gonzalez, Pershing County outlasted Calvary Chapel and Harris in five sets, 23-25, 25-17, 19-25, 25-14, 15-12.

Gonzalez led the defending state-champions with 31 kills, 20 digs and two aces.

“Melissa Gonzalez is a workhorse,” Pershing County coach Shauna Bake said. “She knew she had to step up. She led the team with her attitude and her positive approach, and did a great job.”

Calvary Chapel just couldn’t find an answer for Gonzalez.

“(Gonzalez) is a great player,” Davis said. “We knew where the ball was going to go every time, and she found a way through the blocks and was effective.”

Calvary Chapel (29-5) countered with Harris, who finished with 43 kills in her last high school match.

Afterward, each player had something to say about the other.

“(Gonzalez is) a very good competitor,” Harris said. “I’m very glad I came up against her once again. She deserved that win. I give her props.”

Gonzalez said: “Deja is absolutely a phenomenal player, she’s great. I loved playing against someone that is that amazing. I just played with a San Diego State recruit.”

Pershing County twice overcame one-set deficits on Friday, after dropping the first and third sets.

But the biggest shock came in the fifth set, when the Mustangs overcame an 8-0 deficit to come back and win 15-12.

“I’m completely speechless right now,” Bake said after the fifth-set comeback. “I don’t even know what just happened.”

Bailey Wanner had 13 kills, 13 digs and four aces for the Mustangs, who got 45 assists, 17 digs and two blocks from setter Abby Bake.

Calvary Chapel’s production came from Brooke Davis (52 assists), Alexis Harris (six kills), Athena Lewis (13 digs), Allison Brown (11 digs), and Jamie Mejia (four blocks, two kills).

The Mustangs (27-8) will face Yerington (26-9) in the state championship at 10 a.m. Saturday at Green Valley. The Lions beat Pershing County four times during the regular season.

“We’re at state (now),” Bake said. “We don’t care if they’ve beat us four times (because) the one that matters, is the one at the end of the season.”

Yerington 3, Lincoln County 0 — Kassidy Lommori had 10 kills and 10 digs, and Chloe Dane added 14 kills and seven digs as the Lions swept the Lynx, 25-11, 29-27, 25-14, to advance into Saturday’s Division III state championship.

Yerington got off to a strong start in the first set Friday, thanks to the play of Angela Sciarani and Ashely Rife.

Sciarani finished with six kills and 12 digs for Yerington, which also got 30 assists, 11 digs, one kill and a block from Ashley Rife.

The Lions and Lynx played neck-and-neck in the second set, which featured 13 lead changes.

Yerington coach Debbie Rife said it was vital to come away with the second set.

“It was huge because it showed that we didn’t give up,” Rife said. “They fought back and truly wanted it. They could’ve just rolled over.

Kayla Mathews had nine kills and three blocks for Lincoln County (20-12), which got six kills, five digs and three aces from Kaylee Teel, and 14 assists from Chesnee Harding.

“They’re tough, very competitive,” Rife said of Pershing County. “It’ll be interesting. I’m just going to tell my girls they need to believe in themselves. This is their time, (so) go out and take it.”

DIVISION IV

Smith Valley 3, Tonopah 1 — Katie Ladd had 13 kills and 23 digs Friday to lead the Bulldogs past the Muckers 25-18, 25-18, 20-25, 25-15 in the Division IV state semifinal at Coronado.

Kellie Rogaczewski had seven kills and seven blocks for Smith Valley, which also got 20 digs from Josy Wortman.

Sidney Maughan finished with eight kills, 13 digs and 11 assists for Tonopah (11-4), which got 11 kills, six blocks and three aces from Ashley Gray.

Smith Valley (22-9) will face Pahranagat Valley (29-2) in the Division IV state championship at 2 p.m. Saturday at Green Valley.

Pahranagat Valley 3, Eureka 0 — Bailee Hosier had 13 kills, 18 digs and three aces, and Traci Strong added 14 kills, six digs and four aces as the Panthers swept the Vandals, 25-11, 25-20, 25-17.

Kennedy Hunstman had 29 assists and three aces for the Panthers, who got 12 digs each from Jamie Hansen and Brooke Higbee.

Beth Damele led Eureka (11-9) with 14 digs and 12 assists.

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