After both squads grabbed a game in the first two sets, the Vikings edged out SHS for a 3-1 victory as a mere 11 points decided all four sets: 25-22, 24-26, 28-26, 25-21.
Going into Game 3 with the match tied, South Tahoe grabbed an early 7-2 lead. Undaunted, the Railroaders stormed back to knot the set at 10-10 behind a trio of kills from senior middle hitter Katelynn Vandever. Unfortunately for the Maroon and Gold, the visitors rallied for a 10-3 run to seize a 20-13 advantage.
Again Sparks fought back, this time with six unanswered points to bring the score to 20-19.
Three straight points moved South Tahoe to the brink of the Game 3 win with the score at 23-19, but the Railroaders still were not done.
Not ready to give in, Sparks put together a 6-1 spurt to put itself a point away from the win at 25-24. However, STHS tallied four of the next five points to take Game 3, 28-26.
In Game 4, Sparks jumped out to a 9-4 advantage spurred by a pair of tip kills by senior Krystal Parker, but soon saw it erased by the Vikings with a 9-1 rally to put South Tahoe ahead 13-10. The Vikings never looked back as four straight points keyed STHS to the match deciding 25-21 victory.
"We didn't serve that well today, and I think that ended up being the difference," Sparks coach Tarina Elliot said. "We lucked out a lot on their out-of-rotation calls. Little mistakes hurt them, but it hurt us too.
"Us staying up and in it was a positive for us. We match up really well with them so I think that's going to bring a lot of confidence an determination this week to see if we can hang with them that long again. I'm really proud of them. They've really improved."
Sparks will next visit Incline on Wednesday with the match set for 6 p.m.