Saturday, September 2, 2017
Incline High School
Tahoe City, CA;
The Incline High School varsity volleyball team took an enormous step forward for their season Saturday at the North Tahoe Tournament on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. Playing 4 matches total, the Highlanders defeated AAA Elko, AA North Tahoe, AAAA North Valleys and lost a heart breaker to AAA South Tahoe. Finishing 3 – 1 on the day had already excited first year coach Tim Kelly in a fantastic mood.
“What a day for these young ladies and our program,” Kelly said. “We were definitely better than North Tahoe and North Valleys but still very proud of taking care of them in straight sets. It was the Elko and South Tahoe games that still have me feeling like we have something really special here.”
Kelly wasn’t kidding, as the Incline vs. Elko rematch, the teams played last weekend in the Yerington Tournament where Elko won 2 – 0, was an amazing back and forth match that started the day at 9am. Incline came out playing beautiful volleyball, led by Seniors; Ellyse Kirkland, Madison Cronk and Alexis Krolick, the Highlanders attacked the bigger Indians from all angles on the court. The three attackers seemed impossible to stop with Senior Setter Madeleine Saxe organizing an awesome attack. The teams split the first two games to set up an amazingly intense third and deciding game. Great passing from back row players; Leslie Medina, Alyssa Fellows and Olivia Schneider, set up some big time attacks from Sophomore middle Michaela Racich and outside hitting Junior Chandler Cohn. The Highlanders found themselves down 13-11 before they made gigantic defensive plays to tie the game at 14-14. Three great sets followed by three great swings from Kirkland and Cronk and Incline was celebrating a fantastic win against a very solid team.
“Sarah and I seriously couldn’t breathe after that Elko match,” Kelly said of he and co head coach Sarah Williams. “The girls played so great and stayed together beautifully after losing the 2nd. They fought and fought and made amazing plays. They truly understand how good they are this season, this game sparked that idea big time. We truly know and believe we can be great.”
The Highlanders greatness continued in their next two matches as they overwhelmed both North Tahoe and North Valleys in straight set wins. Incline just seemed to get stronger and stronger as the day went on. They continued to make phenomenal defensive plays and followed their hustle with pin point passing.
The final match of the day slated 3 – 0 Incline against 3 – 0 South Tahoe. The Vikings dispatched the Highlanders in 3 straight this past Thursday in a non conference match but right out of the gate everyone knew this was going to be a different situation. The teams fought back and forth with great team plays on both sides of the net. With the score locked at 25 – 25, the teams threw everything they had at each other with a no cap rule until game 3. With Incline ahead 27 – 26, a very tough no call when coaches Kelly and Williams thought the Vikings doubled, led to a 27 – 27 tie. South Tahoe ripped off two quick points and unfortunately the Highlanders couldn’t hold on and lost 30 – 28.
“It’s always tough because it was such an emotional moment,” Kelly said. “The referees do the best they can and we don’t always see the same results but it’s still tough to swallow because our girls played so well. It was a great game regardless and Sarah and I couldn’t be more pumped about how our girls responded in game 2.”
Like Kelly said, game 2 was another amazing match up of two very good volleyball teams. The Highlanders and Vikings were all over the court defensively and just swung at will against each other at the net. In the end though, the Vikings made just enough plays to outlast Incline 25 – 23 and win the tournament. If you compare Thursdays result at South Tahoe with Saturdays result the Incline ladies have to be extremely proud of themselves. They truly showed themselves that they are a team to reckon with in AA Nevada this year.
Incline starts league play this Friday and Saturday with a trip to Pershing County and Battle Mountain. Their 6 – 5 overall record is a big confidence booster as all 5 losses are to programs in the AAA division. They do have two more non conference matches on future Wednesdays but for Coach Kelly this pretty much wraps up the warm up section of the Highlanders schedule.
“We know we are now ready for what really matters,” he said. “11 really solid matches that record wise don’t really mean a thing but helped us get in the perfect mind set for league play. Our focus is now the 14 matches in front of us that lead us to regionals and a step closer to our goal of a state championship. These young ladies have high goals and expectations and they are working to make their ideas reality. It’s going to be a fun journey. This first part was a blast.”