But even though the Raiders dropped the first two games at Reno High Thursday night, there was no self pity on the Reed sideline as the visitors pulled off a shocker, stunning the Huskies in a 20-25, 23-25, 25-20, 27-25, 15-4 victory.
“It was very crazy. The first two games were the same thing we did against Spanish Springs. We had some highs, but then we had a lot of lows and just tried to find a way to be consistent,” Reed volleyball coach Kristen Flagtvedt said. “I felt that we didn’t give up, and we found a way to find a rhythm. I think that’s what really helped us going into the third, fourth and fifth games.”
Reno won the coin toss for the tiebreaker set, choosing to serve. That was fine by Reed, which put the Huskies on the south end of the court right in front of the Raiders faithful.
The Huskies didn’t stand a chance in front of the raucous crowd, which included a foursome of vuvuzelas.
Reno’s Sarah Pappas took the ball for the first serve and proceeded to hit it into the net. The Raiders never trailed in the decisive set.
“Our crowd support has been great,” Flagtvedt said. “I love how our JV and freshman teams stay and support the varsity games. We have a lot of students who came over to Reno and that really helped. It’s really, really nice. We have some pretty vocal parents, too, so I think that helps as well because Reno always has a good crowd. You want that intensity going into the game.”
Reed came up with a big block on the next point and then the opponents exchanged points for a 3-1 Reed lead.
The Huskies had some fight left as Annie Challis boomed a kill crosscourt and Morgan McGwire blocked a Moriah Maluotoga spike, tying the game at 3-3.
Then it was all Reed. With a similar feeling as last year’s regional semifinal when the top-seeded Huskies looked like deer in headlights against the Raiders, Reno folded during the rest of Game 5.
Reed recorded 11 of the final 12 points in the come-from-behind win. Madi Funk slammed a kill. Amber Harris earned an ace that hit the top of the net and fell over on Reno’s side. Maluotoga pushed over a couple balls into the back corner where Reno couldn’t reach, and Emilie Braun closed out the match with three straight kills in an onslaught of big plays.
The night certainly didn’t start off well for the east Sparks school, which was coming off a four-game loss to league-leading Spanish Springs.
Reno jumped out to a 6-0 lead to start the first game, and that proved to be the difference.
The Raiders got as close as 10-8, following a short run of three straight points. But Reno didn’t relinquish its lead.
The Huskies answered with a 4-0 run, capped by a Pappas kill, leaving the scoreboard reading 14-8 in favor of the home team.
Reed scored back-to-back points to temporarily stall the momentum of Reno, but the hosts tallied the next three points, making it a 7-2 rally and increasing the lead to 17-10.
The Raiders called a timeout when the gap reached a game-high seven points. The strategy worked as the next three points belonged to the Blue and Gold. However, the visitors could not get closer than four points, matching that deficit five more times after it was 17-13.
After a Reed sideout, which made it 24-20, the ensuing serve came nowhere close to going over the net, giving the first set to Reno by the five-point margin.
Unlike Game 1, the second set was all Reed at the start.
A Kelsey Donohoe ace pushed the Raiders’ edge to 7-2, but then Reed watched as Reno rattled off six consecutive points, capped by a Camille Stuyvesant ace. That left the Huskies in an 8-7 lead.
The Raiders were able to tie the game at 9-9 and take a 10-9 advantage on a Funk kill, but three unanswered points by the Huskies erased that cushion.
Reno looked poised and in control when it built a 21-15 lead, but the Huskies brought in some reserve hitters to give them playing time and the home crowd almost watched a collapse.
A 5-0 Reed rally knotted the second set at 21-21. After the game-tying kill by Harris, Reno brought Challis back into the game.
Still, the Huskies could not shake Reed.
The two teams traded sideouts until Reno held a 24-23 edge. The game ended when Reed touched the net, giving the Huskies the winning point.
In Game 3, neither team could steal momentum off the bat.
The two squads battled to 6-6 tie, before the home team found a spark. A McGwire ace concluded the 3-0 mini run and led to a Reed timeout.
The Raiders came out of the short break on a roll, scoring four in a row to take a 10-9 lead.
Again, the teams traded sideouts until a Challis ace on a sinking serve gave the lead back to her team, 14-13.
A miss-hit by Reed extended the Reno lead to 17-15. But that’s as good as it got for the hosts.
A lack of communication by the Huskies allowed a ball to fall to the ground, ending a string of four straight points for Reed. That gave the Raiders a 19-17 lead.
Reno called back-to-back timeouts when Reed went ahead 21-18 and 22-18. But it mattered little. Reed scored the final two points of the third set thanks to a wide Reno serve and a block by Katelyn Singer, forcing a Game 4.
The fourth set started off much like the third with both teams trading points. The score was 4-4 after the first eight points.
Reno began to pull away and it looked like there was no hope for Reed after it fell behind 18-11. This time though, the Huskies hit a major speed bump during their attempt to close out a game.
Three straight mistakes by Reno helped start a 4-0 run by Reed.
The Huskies were still up by three, 21-18, after a Pappas kill. However, a Braun kill cut the deficit to one, 22-21.
Reno had match point at 24-22, but a Braun kill and Maluotoga tip deadlocked the score at 24-24.
Reed tied it up again at 25-25 on a Maluotoga kill, and Funk slammed back-to-back kills to send the match into the winner-take-all fifth set.
Braun led the way for the Raiders with 15 kills. Funk and Maluotoga both chipped in 13 kills, while providing a solid defensive presence as well. Maluotoga had a team-high 24 digs, while Funk knocked down four blocks. Singer was also strong at the net with 11 kills and 5.5 blocks.
Taylor Stefan quietly handed out 50 assists on the night. Donohoe added 22 digs.
Reed (19-7, 9-2) hosts Dayton Saturday in a non-league match.